Baylor College of Medicine

Elderly Hands

Baylor providing COVID training for national nursing home network

Homa Shalchi


Houston, TX -

Nursing home residents are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their age, underlying conditions and communal living conditions. Nursing homes are experiencing a disproportionate share of deaths during the pandemic. To reduce the spread of coronavirus and protect both residents and staff from poor outcomes, the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is supporting the University of New Mexico’s Project ECHO to collaborate with healthcare centers across the nation to create the National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network. A team of experts at Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center have launched an official training center as part of the network.

The partnership provides training and mentoring to nursing home staff to implement COVID-19 prevention and safety practices to protect residents and employees. The training center will work with 100 nursing homes throughout Texas. Experts will share best practices during weekly virtual training sessions, including infection prevention, infection control, testing residents, using PPE and maintaining the well-being of residents.

“We’re training nursing home leadership and staff on the ground within a nursing home,” said Dr. Aanand Naik, Robert J. Luchi, M.D. Chair in Geriatric Medicine and professor and section chief of medicine-geriatrics and palliative medicine at Baylor. “We are training cohorts of nursing homes and identifying two to four individuals at each nursing home who would participate on a regular basis. Each cohort is 16 weeks.”

Nursing homes account for 8 percent of COVID-19 cases and more than 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths. Texas has among the highest numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths nationally for nursing home residents.

“This is a really important need. Most of the morbidity and mortality with COVID is happening in this population and in this setting, and it’s a challenge we need to address. There is a real opportunity to train and support nursing home professionals and we hope to provide a service for the community,” Naik said.

Members of the ECHO team at Baylor include program co-director Dr. Saira Khaderi, assistant professor of medicine-gastroenterology and hepatology at Baylor; Kim Johnson, a nurse practitioner and assistant professor of medicine-geriatrics and palliative medicine at Baylor; Dr. Sana Shamji-Mukhi, assistant professor of medicine-geriatrics and palliative medicine at Baylor; and ECHO hub coordinators Lauren Baker and Lizette Gutierrez at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.

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