PCORI has identified COVID-19 as an important research topic. Patients, clinicians, and others want to learn: What are effective ways to prevent or reduce the impact of COVID-19, especially on vulnerable populations and the healthcare workforce? To help answer this question, PCORI launched an initiative in 2020 to Strengthen Understanding of COVID-19 Impact and Inform Healthcare Responses. The initiative funded this research project and others.
This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Nursing home residents are at high risk for severe COVID-19 infections. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, nursing homes can follow national infection control guidelines. But only three percent of nursing home staff have taken an infection control course.
The research team is comparing two ways to train nursing home staff and administrators in infection control practices. The first way uses Project ECHO, a medical learning approach for training and supporting clinicians in evidence-based care. In this study, Project ECHO is connecting experts in infection control at Penn State University with remote nursing home staff and administrators. Training covers topics such as how to screen for fever and symptoms and how to properly use personal protective equipment. The second way uses Project ECHO plus an eight-week refresher course.
Who can this research help?
Results may help nursing home administrators when considering ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is enrolling 136 nursing homes from the Northeast and Midwest United States. The team is assigning nursing homes by chance to take part in 25 weeks of Project ECHO with or without the eight-week refresher course.
Project ECHO includes 90-minute online video sessions held weekly. Sessions include instruction from Project ECHO staff. Nursing home staff also share how they have used infection control practices in daily care. In the first 25 weeks, all participants learn about COVID-19 and strategies for improving care delivery. Participants in the eight-week refresher course learn about more topics based on a training from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At the start of the study and again 4, 6, 12, and 18 months later, the research team is looking at how many nursing home residents get COVID-19, go to the hospital because of COVID-19, or die from COVID-19. The team is also reviewing a national database to learn about nursing home outcomes and residents’ quality of life.
Nursing home residents and their families, nursing home staff, health insurers, and policy makers are helping to plan and conduct this study.
Research methods at a glance
|Design||Randomized controlled trial|
|Population||136 nursing homes with approximately 24,560 residents from the Northeast and Midwest United States|
Primary: COVID-19 infection rate
Secondary: COVID-19 hospitalizations, flu-like illness, and deaths; nursing home resident quality of life; infection control program reach, effectiveness, implementation, acceptability, and maintenance
|18-month follow-up for primary outcome|