The Tobin Center at Yale University partnered with the University of California, Los Angeles and the U.S. Digital Response to create a tool measuring staff connections between nursing homes. The free tool, ProtectNursingHomes.org, presents data allowing public health officials and decisionmakers to:
- Activate an early warning system to let connected nursing homes know when outbreaks occur in facilities with shared staff,
- Identify hyper-connected nursing homes where levels of connectivity risk may justify elevated monitoring and protective measures, and
- Prepare for future outbreaks by developing infection prevention and control (IPC) guidelines for staff visiting multiple sites.
Nursing homes traditionally share staff across facilities. Research shows staff interconnectivity is a significant driver of infection in nursing homes and may contribute to the spread of COVID-19. People who live in nursing homes are at high risk of being affected by pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2 and Candida auris.
Local health departments (LHDs) play a growing role in IPC activities. LHDs are well-positioned to assess IPC practices, share resources with facilities, and provide education to facility staff.