Advocates for Georgia's Elderly Since 1953

COVID-19 Resources

 Personal Protective Equipment

Workforce

COVID-19 Temporary Nurse Aide Training Program Effective March 20, 2020 - Updated April 14
We know workforce challenges continue to be an ongoing issue for providers during this time of crisis. As such, GHCA has been working with DCH and Alliant Quality on Georgia’s approval of the Temporary Nurse Aide Training Program. Under the authority of the March 20, 2020 Executive Order issued by Governor Kemp, and the Section 1135 blanket waiver issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 30, 2020, HFRD is authorizing a temporary nurse aide training program, as follows:

  • Nursing homes are not required to have a current CNA Training Program in order to participate in the temporary program.
  • The temporary nurse aide training program may be administered by the nursing home utilizing the 8-hour online training course and associated skills competency checklist developed by the American Health Care Association in association with Academic Platforms, LLC (branded as CNAOnline.com).
  • All nursing homes that intend to utilize the temporary nurse aide training program must complete the Temporary Nurse Aide Facility Application and send it to Alliant Health Solutions.
  • Nursing homes also must maintain documentation at the facility of all nurse aides that complete the temporary training program including, at a minimum: evidence of successful completion of the online exam following the 8-hour training; and documentation of at least 2 hours of supervised training and completion of a skills checklist by a member of the nursing staff at the facility.
  • • Nursing homes may employ current nursing students who are enrolled in an LPN or RN program in Georgia as temporary nurse aides. If a nursing student has completed Nursing 101 and Nursing 102, there is no requirement to complete the 8-hour training or take the online exam. These students can be onboarded at the facility with 2 hours of supervised training and completion of a skills checklist. Nursing students hired as temporary nurse aides do not have a larger scope of duties than other temporary nurse aides. Temporary nurse aides may only perform tasks that are consistent with typical CNA job responsibilities.
  • Once the state of emergency has been lifted, the Department will allow a period of time for temporary nurse aides to complete any additional training necessary for them to pass the required Georgia Certified Nurse Aide Competency Test administered by Pearson VUE and to enroll in the Georgia Nurse Aide Registry.

Click here for the Department’s memo related to this authorization.

Additionally, Georgia’s Nursing Board has developed a process  to obtain a temporary permit for nurse graduates who have applied for license by exam to work as a Graduate Nurse in a role consistent with their scope of practice. This is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen relationships with local nursing programs and to fortify your workforce. Our hope is that centers would hire individuals through the various pathways created as a result of the public health emergency and demonstrate exceptional customer service and support as they assimilate with your teams. This will increase the likelihood these new associates will remain employed in your center long after the declared public health emergency has lifted. Embrace this opportunity and demonstrate why our health care teams are super heroes!

Please see below process for employing nursing students, allied health students and nurse graduates: 

  1. Nursing Students
    1. Pre-requisite: Fundamentals in Nursing
    2. Upon hire, student will be required to complete a competency skills check-off (linked above) and perform with 2 hours supervision
  2. Allied Health Student (or other students) and external applicants interested in Temporary Nurse Aide employment opportunity
    1. Upon hire, student will be required to complete the 8-Hour AHCA Temporary Nurse Aide online training program and exam
    2. Upon successful completion of exam, will be designated as a Temporary Nurse Aide with appropriate job responsibilities
    3. Once public health emergency has passed, DCH and other stakeholders will define process to allow TNA to complete other requirements for Certified Nurse Assistant testing and certification
  3. Nurse Graduates
    1. Graduate of accredited nursing program
    2. Apply for a temporary permit
    3. SNF, ALs and other providers may employ appropriately permitted Graduate Nurses to perform duties commensurate with their scope of practice.

If you have questions, please contact GHCA VP Quality Advancement & Regulatory Affairs Pam Clayton at pclayton@ghca.info or 678-902-9224

Click here for a template information document for center to use to recruit Temporary Nurse Aides or Graduate Nurses.

Updated Guidance for DPH Staffing Resource Requests
While DPH has indicated that centers should first utilize your local staffing agencies, resources, volunteers, and partnerships with schools, providers can also submit requests for staffing supports through your local EMA. The Department has indicated that staffing resources are limited, and request fulfillment cannot be guaranteed.

If you are in need of critical staffing, please include in your resource request the following information:

  1. Title the resource request “Staffing support”
  2. Type of facility (hospital, skilled nursing, assisted living)
  3. Name of contact person at the facility who understands the request with a verified telephone number and e-mail
  4. Date staffing is requested and length of time the assistance is needed.
  5. Total number of positive COVID cases of patients/residents
  6. Total number of staff that are confirmed COVID positive
  7. Total number of staff leave callouts due to COVID concerns
  8. Describe the type of assistance needed including any specific requests.

Your local EMA will submit your request into WebEOC. Once the resource request is submitted, it will be assigned to ESF8 and someone will contact you to discuss the request for clarity and planning.

HFRD Infection Control Desk Audit Process - UPDATED April 13

HFRD has automated its COVID-19 data collection process to improve the accuracy and timeliness of the information. Moving forward, HFRD will be collecting the data fields below on a daily basis from nursing centers, assisted living communities and larger personal care homes. The list was modified based on requests made by the National Guard. Surveyors will collect the information via phone or email per centers’ preference. There is no need for submission of a form, but if that is preferred, HFRD has developed a form that can be used for this purpose. 

HFRD COVID-19 REPORTING CHART
Name or Title of Facility Contact Providing the Information  
Current Facility Census  
Total # COVID-19 Positive Residents (Cumulative)  
# of Resident Tests Pending Results  
# of Residents in Quarantine  
# of Residents Hospitalized (in the last 24 hours)  
# of Residents Hospitalized (in the last week)  
# of Resident Deaths  
# of Staff (employees assigned to the location)  
# of Staff Tested Positive  
# of Staff Tests Pending Results  

HFRD has indicated they have stressed to surveyors that this is a challenging time for facility leadership and that data collection, while important, should not be prioritized over resident care

Electronic Reporting to CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN)

Testing

  • Important Information Related to Widespread Testing in SNFs - Governor Kemp has recommended a robust testing strategy to test as many residents and staff possible in skilled nursing centers over the next two weeks. The goal is to test all residents and staff at least once. If your residents or staff have not yet been tested, please follow the process below to request testing. A multi-agency collaboration was launched to assist providers with their testing efforts. Testing may be accomplished through several mechanisms:
    • Testing may be facilitated by the provider through a commercial lab.
    • Skilled nursing facility staff may go to any of the state testing sites (SPOCS) at no cost and report activity to your respective SNF employer.
    • Department of Public Health may assist with testing on a case by case basis.
    • National Guard may assist with testing by exception on a case by case basis.
  • GEMA and DPH developed a requisition process whereby skilled nursing centers can procure test supplies and PPE to facilitate test efforts. Test supplies will probably not be needed if you are working with a commercial lab; however, the PPE supplies will likely be very beneficial.  Use the Specimen Collection Support ReadyOp link to submit your request: https://ga.readyop.com/fs/4jfm/49a4  
  • ​Please note: If National Guard support is needed to assist in testing at your center, please make that request through your local EMA as soon as possible.
  • Centers must continue to report testing activity on their daily reports to HFRD. These daily reports will be the source for tracking test activity for all stakeholders monitoring this effort and acute reporting is imperative. Confirmed or suspected cases should be reflected on your daily reports to HFR and reported to DPH, CDC, residents and representatives as required 
  • Staff may also get tested at a Covid 19 Testing Site
  • CVS Health Opens 23 New Drive-Thru Test Sites in Georgia as Part of Nationwide COVID-19 Response - May 21

Guidance for Healthcare Facilities


CMS
CDC
DPH
​Environmental Protection Agency
GHCA

AHCA

NRC Health

Requesting Civil Money Penalty (CMP) Reinvestment Funds for Communicative Technologies - UPDATED APPLICATION TEMPLATE

Recognizing that visitor restrictions may be difficult for residents and families, CMS has developed an application template for requests for the use of Civil Money Penalty (CMP) Reinvestment funds to provide residents with adaptive communicative technologies and accessories (iPads, tablets, headphones etc.).
 
Click Here for the CMPRP Application Template - Updated 4.29.20

Click Here for Special Instructions for Submitting CMPRP Application Template for Georgia Nursing Centers
 
Applications must be submitted electronically to cmpgrant.hfrd@dch.ga.gov and must be submitted on the application template linked above. NOTE: This template can only be used for communicative technology and accessories for nursing homes.


COVID-19 Specimen Collection Demonstration Videos

AMDA Resource Pages

Optimizing N95 Strategies

Lab Pages

HCBS Resources

Communication Resources

Childcare for Health Care Profesionals

  • YMCA of Metro Atlanta Childcare Program for Hospital Staff & Medical Professionals
  •  Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Child Care Resources - The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning has provided a resource for the public to search for child care that is still open while schools are closed amid COVID-19. You may search available child care programs online at www.qualityrated.org, or you can do so by calling 1-877-ALL GA Kids (1-877-255-4254). Employers seeking child care options for a group of 25 employees or more can call 470-426-2610 for direct support.


Telehealth Resources



General Infection Prevention Resources


Infection Prevention Control Recommendations for Patients with Candida Auris
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is alerting U.S. healthcare facilities to be on the lookout for Candida Auris due to concerns of an increased incidence of Candida Auris. Candida Auris is a type of yeast that may cause severe illness in residents and patients in a variety of health care settings, including long-term care. The yeast can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body causing serious invasive infections. Unfortunately, this strain of yeast does not respond to common antifungal drugs, making infections more difficult to treat. People at highest risk of infection with this type of yeast are people who have been hospitalized or live in a healthcare facility a long time, have central venous catheters, or other lines or tubes entering their body, or have previously been receiving antibiotics or antifungal medications. Common symptoms include fever and chills that don’t improve after antibiotic treatment for suspected bacterial infection. Only laboratory testing can diagnose Candida Auris infection. Georgia’s Department of Public Health recommends the following:

  • Place patients infected or colonized with C. auris in a single room on standard and contact precautions.
  • Assess and enhance gown and glove use. This should include ensuring staff have completed PPE donning and doffing training with return demonstration. Audit compliance with PPE selection, use, donning, and doffing for all disciplines and all shifts. Set a facility goal for compliance.  Graph results monthly to easily detect trend and provide feedback to all stakeholders regularly. During auditing, perform real time coaching when non-adherence is observed. Once facility goal is achieved and sustained for a minimum of 3 months, consider de-escalation of auditing frequency (e.g., from monthly to quarterly). Escalation and de-escalation of auditing can be determined by performance.
  • Reinforce hand hygiene. This should include ensuring staff have completed hand hygiene training with return demonstration. Perform auditing and feedback as described for PPE. Hand hygiene auditing should be performed for both opportunity and technique. 
  • Coordinate with environmental services to ensure the patient care environment is cleaned with a disinfectant that is effective against C. auris (i.e., those effective against Clostridioides difficile). Learn more.
  • Work with the environmental services team to monitor the cleaning and disinfection process. 

Further details regarding CDC’s recommendations for infection prevention for C. auris can be found here. Below are additional resources that may assist with your infection control program review and staff education: