Building community and resilience in Massachusetts nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline nursing home staff faced extraordinary stressors including high infection and mortality rates and ever-changing and sometimes conflicting federal and state regulations. To support nursing homes in evidence-based infection control practices, the Massachusetts Senior Care Association and Hebrew SeniorLife partnered with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality AHRQ ECHO National Nursing HomeCOVID-19 Action Network (the network). This educational program provided16 weeks of free weekly virtual sessions to 295 eligible nursing homes, grouped into nine cohorts of 30–33 nursing homes. Eighty-three percent of eligible nursing homes in Massachusetts participated in the Network, and Hebrew SeniorLife's Training Center served the vast majority. Each cohort was led by geriatrics clinicians and nursing home leaders, and coaches trained in quality improvement. The interactive sessions provided timely updates on COVID-19infection control best practices to improve care and also created a peer-to-peer learning community to share ongoing challenges and potential solutions. The weekly Network meetings were a source of connection, emotional support, and validation and may be a valuable mechanism to support resilience and well-being for nursing home staff.