• Innovation in Action

Apr 14, 2020

HQIN Member Shares Best Practices for COVID-19 Response


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on long-term care facilities, changing how residents live and how staff provide care. On a recent call with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Crystal Larson, LNHA, Administrator at Lynn Care Center in Front Royal, Va. highlighted innovative strategies her facility is using to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety and well-being of the facility’s residents and staff.

Strategies for preventing COVID-19 transmission

– Through changes to room assignments, new admissions are quarantined for 14 days in one unit at the end of a hallway.

– Physician visits with residents are made virtually using iPads. If a resident needs an in-person visit, only providers who are known not to have been exposed to COVID-19 are permitted to enter the facility.

– In addition to following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on conserving Personal Protective Equipment, the facility is receiving handmade masks through the local community’s “10,000 Mask Challenge.” As part of this challenge, a retired administrator from Lynn Care Center has been making 50 masks per day.

Strategies to ensure resident safety and well-being

– To help residents stay connected with their families, the facility is using Skype and FaceTime and allowing through-window visits with phone calls to facilitate conversation.

– “Six-Foot Bingo,” is played in room doorways and gives residents the opportunity to enjoy their favorite group activity while staying appropriately socially distanced. Bingo equipment is cleaned before and after use

– Residents receive the latest updates about what’s happening in their facility related to COVID-19 through daily room service.

Strategies to ensure staff safety and well-being

– A daily newsletter is shared with staff to keep them informed of the changes being made within the facility each day.

– To help keep morale high, staff receive extra treats, daily reminders to “just breathe” and take turns sharing five things they are grateful for.

– Through the Lynn Care Center’s Employee Assistance Program, staff can receive bi-weekly calls to help them decrease stress and improve mental health and well-being.

– Within the Shenandoah Valley community where Lynn Care Center is located, a small coalition of skilled nursing facilities, hospitals and other health care providers that typically compete with each other are meeting weekly to share resources and offer support during this difficult time.

As a member of HQIN, Lynn Care Center has access to tools and resources that help staff deliver the best possible care to their residents. This includes resources for infection prevention and control and tools to ensure their facility is well-prepared for the CMS COVID-19 Focused Survey. Not yet a member? Join today or visit http://www.hqin.org to learn more.