The Department of Health along with the Puerto Rico Hurricane Hub (PRHRH), a program of the Puerto Rico Public Health Trust (PRPHT), both attached to the Puerto Rico Trust for Science, Technology and Research (FCTIPR), are calling on the island's nursing homes to enroll in a series of educational workshops on prevention measures against the spread of COVID-19 in this population. The initiative is aimed at owners, administrators, health professionals and staff of senior centers and may include a stipend of up to $6,000 per center, which qualifies. The training will be offered in multiple virtual sessions and begins on Friday, November 13, 2020.

This initiative will utilize Project ECHO's methodology, a learning process, based on case studies. The goal is to increase access to experts to facilitate knowledge sharing among participants and resources. The philosophy of Project ECHO is that "we all teach, and we all learn" because it creates a space where the real experiences of the participants are discussed and used as learning to improve current practices.

"This conference cycle represents a vital tool for the Elderly Homes as they will have access to experts who will help them develop strategies on how to manage the pandemic and prevent its spread in their workplaces," said Dr. Lorenzo González, Secretary of Health of Puerto Rico. "We have to protect our elderly, who are the most vulnerable population in this chain of contagion," he concluded.

This is the fourth edition of Project ECHO to be carried out in Puerto Rico, and it is expected to be as successful as the editions carried out in the past on other topics. On this occasion it will be directed to the Nursing Homes and will aim to facilitate the exchange of knowledge among colleagues, participants and resources. Project ECHO is a network of over 250 partners operating 600 programs in the United States and Puerto Rico that specialize in providing training, technical assistance, and mentoring in various areas of health care, mental health, disaster, community, and public health, among others.

"Project ECHO joins a series of initiatives we have implemented to provide communities with the resources they need to cope with disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to broad participation for the benefit of our older adults in order to save lives," said Leslie Maas Cortes, director of Hurricane Hub.

Participation Information

The conferences to the employees of the homes for the elderly will last six (6) months.

Sessions begin on November 13, 2020 through the week of March 23, 2021.

Conference Topics:

1. How to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes to residents through staff, visitors, and residents.

2. How to manage a case of COVID-19 and avoid further spread of the virus if infection occurs in the nursing home among patients, staff, and visitors.

3. Best care and treatment practices for residents who test positive for COVID-19.

4. Protection of staff by providing advance guidance and ensuring safety measures, establishing a protocol, and implementing best practices in the work area.

5. Helping staff to gain confidence in their work, feel confident that an infection will occur to prevent the loss of employees and support staff retention.

6. Ensuring that residents who are terminally ill from COVID-19 can receive visits from family members with high security.

Requirements and Commitment

• The main requirement to participate in these trainings is to have a registered senior home in Puerto Rico.

• On the other hand, homes that are registered as Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) qualify for a $6,000 stipend after completing the program.

• In order to receive the stipend, CMS is required to have two core staff members who complete at least 13 of the total 16 sessions.

Senior centers that wish to participate may register at this link: https://bit.ly/3pnmPPc. If you are a registered CMS center, please fill out the following survey here: https://bit.ly/3oJ5K1z. For more information on this initiative, please contact infoprhrh@prpht.org.

For more information on the services of Hurricane Hub access our website

https://prsciencetrust.org/prhrh/ and/or request your training, free of charge, here: https://prsciencetrust.org/asistencia-tecnica

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