UF leads effort to educate Florida nursing home staff in infection control

Dr. Lee Revere
Dr. Lee Revere

By Jill Pease

The University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions leads a new project designed to provide support and education in infection control and prevention for Florida’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The work is funded by a $1.25 million state contract.

UF’s multidisciplinary team is working collaboratively with the Florida Department of Health through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Facility Strike Team and Infrastructure initiative. The $500 million national initiative is designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection and address long-term care staffing concerns through partnerships between health departments and long-term care providers.

“This funding provides us a unique opportunity to provide best-in-class education and collaborative support to long-term care organizations across Florida,” said project lead Lee Revere, Ph.D., FACHE, professor and chair of the PHHP department of health services research, management and policy.

For the project, UF will gain an understanding of the state of infection control and prevention in nursing homes and long-term care facilities across Florida through a comprehensive needs assessment survey. The UF team will also review individual infection control and staffing plans from select facilities around the state.

Based on identified need areas, the team will create 10 unique learning collaboratives for nursing home and long-term care employees to learn and share best practices in infection prevention and control. These learning collaboratives will focus on areas identified as critical to the ongoing success of managing infection, including the spread of COVID-19. Learning collaborative topics will likely include quality improvement, policies/procedures/protocols, antibiotic stewardship, the built environment, and more.

In addition, the team will develop a best practices manual for infection control, training materials, regulatory and policy resources and mentorship for organizations seeking to continuously improve their processes and facilities.

“Our aim is to expand the existing knowledge in infection control with the goal of supporting our long-term care partners in delivering safe and effective services to their residents,” Revere said.

In addition to Revere, UF’s multidisciplinary team includes Ann Horgas, Ph.D., and Sally Bethart, D.N.P., from the College of Nursing; Kartik Cherabuddi, M.D., of the College of Medicine; Duzgun Agdas, Ph.D., Antarpreet Jutla, Ph.D., and Chang-Yu Wu, Ph.D., from the College of Engineering; Veena Venugopalan, Pharm.D., from the College of Pharmacy; and Cindy Prins, Ph.D., Jamie Pomeranz, Ph.D., and Nicole Marlow, Ph.D., from the College of Public Health and Health Professions. Additional team members include research coordinator Mishal Khan and two students, Avery Bollinger and Cassie Johnson.