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New Funding to Improve Quality of Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Facilities in Pennsylvania

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July 14, 2023

By Emily Gallagher

Researchers at the Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH) received a new grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DoH) to develop training programs in infection control and emergency preparedness for nursing home and long-term care facilities’ staff throughout the state.

This year-long project began last month and will continue through June 2024. It is part of a pilot project targeted to 125 facilities selected by PA DoH that participate in the state’s Long-term Care Resiliency Infrastructure Supports and Empowerment (LTC-RISE) initiative.

"We are looking forward to working with [our partners] and contributing to a program that makes a difference for the long-term care workforce and the patients they serve." - Esther Chernak, MD, MPH, FACP

The project, titled “Nursing Home and Other Long-Term Care Facility Quality Investment Pilot,” is led by Esther Chernak, MD, MPH, FACP, Director of the Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication (CPHRC) and Clinical Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at DSPH as well as in the Drexel University College of Medicine.

Melissa Kaufman, EdD, Executive Director of Instructional Design and Educational Operations at DSPH, is a co-investigator. Additionally, faculty from Drexel's College of Nursing and Health Professions, DSPH, and external subject matter experts will help develop and teach the courses.

The team will design a series of short courses or “micro-credentials” for clinical, patient-facing staff, and managers who are on the front lines in these care facilities.

Course topics will include:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Vaccines
  • Emergency response
  • Clinical topics relevant to patients in long-term care

The program will be delivered virtually, with both asynchronous and live components.

“We are looking forward to working with the state health department on this important initiative, and to partnering with colleagues at Drexel and across the commonwealth to contribute to a program that makes a difference for the long-term care workforce, and the patients they serve.” said Chernak.

This funding is part of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s goal to improve workforce retention, emergency preparedness, infection prevention, and control capacity in the state’s nursing home and long-term care facilities. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed many challenges and areas in need of improvement when caring for these vulnerable populations.

Interested in the growing field of infection control? Learn more about Drexel Dornsife's new online Master of Science (MS) in Infection Prevention & Control program.