Webinar Recap | Pandemic Lessons Learned: Best Practices and Emergency Preparedness in the Future

emergency preparedness

Are you still struggling to adapt to all the changes brought on by COVID-19? What are the future plans for compliance? For implementing new technologies? For updating your emergency preparedness plan? If you weren’t able to join the webinar we were a part of on July 15th, along with Fully Managed and Richter Healthcare. Here are some takeaways on everything from infection control, to reporting requirements, to ways to plan for compliance in the future.  

Fully Managed

Around the world, the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in a variety of industries, and senior care was not different. Fully Managed has been in the senior care space for 15 years; here’s what they had to say about planning for future technologies and IT infrastructures

The pandemic highlighted the following shortfalls in technology: 

  • Planning and strategy
  • Infrastructure issues such as poor WiFi
  • Communications in isolation
  • Mobile devices and infection control
  • Cybersecurity awareness and protection
  • Lack of automation and efficiency

Best Practices Going Forward: In short, make the move from manual processes to automated ones.

  • Create an IT Roadmap for both the short and long-terms
  • Invest in WiFi 
  • Use automation to find efficiencies and reduce redundancies
  • Ensure mobile devices are included in your infection control strategy
  • Cybersecurity planning and training

Innovation will help bring efficiencies and support the renewed interest in things like telehealth capabilities.  But facilities need the correct infrastructure to support these changes. We can look to technology to help move forward. Having a plan in place while understanding what technology you HAVE allows you to understand what is needed to improve your services and abilities. Going from manual to automated processes can help manage change, impact the ability to audit, and increases staff productivity.


COVID-19 created a lot of uncertainty for those in senior care and highlighted the importance of communication with key stakeholders. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) implemented the reporting rule to help increase transparency and ensure accountability. Here are some ways to communicate during a crisis to reduce family anxiety and uncertainty and meet regulation requirements: 

The Case For Automated Outreach

  • Streamlines outreach to resident family members in an efficient and effective way
  • Ensures automatic records for auditing purposes
  • Standardized templated messages mean consistent messaging
  • Reaches family members regardless of their digital literacy
  • Doesn’t take time away from care 

Use Cases Beyond Covid-19

  • New compliance standards and needs for risk mitigation
  • An integral part of an emergency preparedness plan (natural disasters etc)
  • Lower operation costs
  • New reality of efficiencies
  • New set of expectations from families 
  • Better communicate with staff 
  • Coordination of routine care
  • Social announcements

While many aspects of senior care will change beyond the pandemic, one constant is keeping resident families informed of the status of their loved one. How, this information is communicated, however, will change. Automating outreach can improve relationships with resident families by reducing anxiety while also reducing the communications burden on staff.

Richter Healthcare Consultants

Every nursing home in the United States will have an infection control survey completed by the end of July 2020. Infection control and strategies moving forward. So how do facilities prepare for infection control focused surveys? They’re going to be around for quite some time. From pre to post-survey protocols, Richter shares some best practices to help you pass inspections.

Pre Survey Preparation

  • Prepare a COVID-19 Survey binder and update it regularly. Items include:
    • Patient and staff contact information
    • List of positive or suspected cases
    • Emergency Preparedness Plan
    • Medical Record Reviews
    • Risk reduction activities and procedures
    • Infection prevention and control policies and procedures
    • EHR Information Sheet

Some survey activities will be off-site for safety; including:

  • Reviewing the complaint allegation
  • Medical record reviews
  • Review family communications
  • Reviewing CDC, state and local health authority information

What will the COVID-19 Focused Survey Look like? There are nine areas:

  • General standard precautions (handwashing, PPE, etc.)
  • Resident care
  • Infection prevention and control standards, policies and procedures
  • Infection surveillance
  • Visitor entry (signage, screening protocols, etc)
  • Education monitoring and screening staff
  • Reporting to residents, representatives, and families
  • Reporting to the CDD ( Federal Surveyors only) 
  • Emergency Preparedness – Staffing in emergencies 

To ensure your facility passes the survey with ease, here are some proactive measures to help you prepare:

  • Identify gaps and update your Infection Control and Prevention Program
  • Develop or update your infection surveillance program
  • Strengthen your Antibiotic Stewardship Program

While the pandemic will eventually end, there will be emergency situations in the future that require planning and preparation. As senior care facilities begin to change how they operate, communicate, and plan, these tips can help you ensure a better response to future emergencies.

Want some more in-depth information on these topics? Watch the recording here.

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