CHA PACE Conducts Training to Treat COVID-Positive Patients in the Community

April 13, 2020

CHA PACE is training nursing, rehabilitation and provider staff to care for its first COVID-positive patients returning to the community after a hospital stay. Susan Donnelly, director of Operations, and Kathryn Tylander, manager of Quality, are conducting the training.

As of April 12, 76 of the 469 participants at CHA PACE have been tested for COVID-19. Forty-two test results were positive, 28 were negative, and six tests are pending. Of the positive cases, 35 reside in nursing homes, seven are hospitalized, and five passed away. One of the pending cases has passed away.

With hospital and nursing home beds in short supply, CHA PACE is partnering with a local paramedic firm to provide 24/7 in-home care for COVID-positive patients, as well as preparing three teams of clinicians to provide COVID-positive community care.

"It is absolutely essential that all staff, even seasoned clinicians, practice safe donning and doffing of personal protective equipment,” said CHA PACE medical director Jonathan Burns, MD. “The process is difficult to do precisely in a controlled clinical setting and presents additional challenges in a community setting.”

For example, accessing hand sanitizer in the community, where wall-mounted dispensers are not available, requires additional planning.

“Our two-clinician treatment teams can observe and support each other’s donning and doffing technique and identify exposure risks,” Dr. Burns said. “This is allowing us to continue fulfilling our mission of providing independence, dignity and caring to our participants in the community.”

CHA PACE is a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®). Funded by Medicare and Medicaid, the program helps people age 55 and over receive their care needs in the community instead of going to a nursing home or other facility. CHA PACE is a program of Cambridge Health Alliance, serving older adults in 13 communities in the Boston area. For more information, visit the CHA PACE website.

All CHA PACE staff practice safe donning and doffing of personal protective equipment.

Many hours of preparation led to the training with COVID-positive personal protective equipment.
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