Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new toolkit which was developed to provide nursing homes, Governors, states, departments of health and other agencies overseeing these facilities with additional resources to aid in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic within nursing homes.

The toolkit is comprised of best practices from a variety of front-line health care providers, COVID-19 task forces, associations and other organizations and experts. The toolkit is intended to help in the creation and implementation of strategies and interventions to manage and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within nursing homes.

The toolkit covers a variety of subjects ranging from infection control to workforce and staffing. It also provides contact information for organizations who stand ready to assist with the unique challenges posed by caring for individuals in long-term care settings. Each state was involved in the creation of the toolkit.

For example, the toolkit outlines a number of strategies implemented in New Jersey to manage the pandemic in nursing homes, from reporting guidance, to workforce and staffing requirements, nursing home communications, actions to improve utilization of personal protective equipment, and the screening of visitors. Specifically, New Jersey presented:

  • Recommendations to keep residents engaged during social isolation;
  • A tool to identify health care personnel (HCP) potentially exposed to COVID- 19;
  • Guidance on the management of exposed HCP;
  • A tool to monitor and assess the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for HCP caring for COVID-19 patients;
  • Recommendations to assist in the control of a COVID-19 outbreak at a facility;
  • Information for providers and families on POLST (Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) and end of life conversations; and,
  • A tool that can be used by a health care facility or local health department to assist HCP with daily symptom monitoring

The toolkit notes that CMS now requires nursing homes to report cases of COVID-19 directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and inform residents and their families and representatives of COVID-19 cases within their facilities in an effort to improve transparency.

The CMS Toolkit on State Actions to Mitigate COVID-19 in Nursing Homes is attached here –

Download (PDF, 1.61MB)

To keep up with the ongoing work of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in response to COVID-19, visit For information specific to CMS, visit the Current Emergencies Website.

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