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A monthly newsletter highlighting events and resources for Nursing Homes & Community Coalitions

In This Issue:
The Latest News from CMS


COVID-19 Revised Guidance for Nursing Home Visitation  
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a revised memo on Nursing Home Visitation dated 11.12.2021. This memo gives guidance and states that visitation is now allowed for all residents at all times. Read the Full Memo  

CMS Reminds Eligible Consumers They Can Get a COVID-19 Booster Shot at No Cost 
Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent action that authorized a booster shot of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines for certain populations and a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CMS is reminding eligible consumers that coverage is available under Medicare, Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program and in the commercial health insurance market for this critical protection from the virus, including booster shots from all three manufacturers, without cost sharing. Learn More

COVID-19 and Flu Essentials​​

Our team is collecting and curating the essential trainings, events, resources, and vaccine updates about COVID-19 and influenza on our website so you can visit one page to find the information you need. We've also outlined the essentials below.

View All COVID-19 News & Resources

Training & Resources

  • Putting COVID-19 Numbers and Vaccinations into Context – This presentation and video helps explain the risks of COVID-19 relative to other events such as lightning strikes, tornadoes, traffic fatalities, etc. and illustrates the impact that COVID-19 vaccinations have on reducing risks. Get the Presentation and Videos 
  • CMS Targeted COVID-19 Training for Frontline Nursing Home Staff & Management (Free Training) Learn More
  • CMS-CDC Fundamentals of COVID-19 Prevention for Nursing Home Management Learn More & Register | Download Infographic
  • Enjoy Holiday Traditions and Protect Your Loved Ones Download Flyer
New COVID-Related Videos Encourage Vaccination and Practicing Self-Care 
Alliant recently shared two new COVID-related educational videos on its website. The “What is Your Choice?” video encourages people to choose immunization for COVID-19, and the “How to Prioritize Self-Care” video offers helpful techniques to begin prioritizing self-care. Watch them here: What Is Your Choice Video | How to Prioritize Self-Care Video 

Vaccine Updates

December 5-11 is National Influenza Vaccination Week
Every December, the CDC observes National Influenza Week to highlight the importance of influenza vaccination. Some activities and resources to consider to increase awareness are listed below:
  • Play a video about flu vaccination
  • Promote everyday actions for flu prevention
  • Share information on vaccine providers in your area ​​​​​
  • Raise awareness on social media by sharing information on the importance of preventing influenza. Use the hashtags #NIVW and #FightFlu
    •  It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW)! #NIVW highlights the importance of continuing #flu #vaccination through the holidays and beyond. Learn how you can make a difference by watching this video by @CDCgov: #FightFlu​​​​​​
    • Getting a #flushot is the best way to protect yourself and the ones you love from #flu, especially if you have certain chronic conditions. Find out how we can all #FightFlu together: #NIVW 
    • Help #senior patients prevent complications related to certain chronic conditions and hospitalizations. Learn more here: #NIVW #FightFlu 
    • Certain #flu #vaccines were made for people ages 65+. Learn more about the different vaccine types here: #NIVW #FightFlu 
    • Annual #flu #vaccination is a free #Medicare benefit. Check to see if you’re covered: #NIVW #FightFlu 
    • As family and friends gather for the holidays, #flu activity is increasing. Encourage patients to get a flu vaccine: #NIVW #FightFlu
CDC Issues Alert About Increased Seasonal Influenza A Activity 
The CDC issued a Health Alert Network Health Advisory about increased influenza A activity that could mark the beginning of the 2021-2022 influenza season. Read the Health Alert | Additional Resources and information on the 2021-2022 Influenza Season 

CDC Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Booster Shots to All Adults 
Effective November 19, 2021, the CDC expanded recommendations for booster shots to all adults ages 18 years and older who received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months after their second dose. Read More 

United Against the Flu: American Hospital Association Campaign 
Keep the flu vaccine top of mind for patients with the United Against the Flu campaign. Messaging materials include a toolkit, social media images, hospital stories, fact sheets and more. Created by the American Hospital Association, this campaign is a collaborative effort by several national health care organizations in coordination with the CDC. Visit the Site 


Leadership Lessons
​​​Words of advice from leaders on the front lines.

This month’s leadership lesson is from Danyce Seney, AHS Nursing Home Co-Lead.

Resilience Rounding
Last month, Alliant Health Solutions and Planetree International released a new resilience rounding tool for leaders following our Learning and Action Network event on resilience, endurance and supporting staff through the holidays. Studer Group’s "Must Haves SM Video Series Facilitation Guide, Volume 1: Rounding for Outcomes" provides a framework for rounding that includes:

  1. Establishing rounding times on a calendar.
  2. Capturing wins with instant recognition via e-mail.
  3. Rounding with specific goals in mind.
  4. Eliminating excuses by creating organization-wide “no meeting times” for rounding.
  5. Using a rounding log (e.g., Resiliency Rounding Tool to hardwire rounding follow-up.
Click here for more information on rounding for outcomes. 

As you establish your rounding strategy this holiday season, remember to include a rounding schedule for you and your leadership team that allows your team leaders to ask you the resiliency rounding questions. Self-care and inclusion of your leadership team on your rounding schedule can help you and your leadership team maintain the energy, focus or drive to continue as we close out 2021 and transition to a new year.

Read on our Website

Best Practice Corner
Each month Alliant Health Solutions collects exemplar practices from organizations across the seven-state region. Thank you for your leadership, creativity, and perseverance. 

Kentucky Health Department Creates Informational Video To Help Parents Prepare Their Children for the COVID-19 Vaccination
As Kentucky rolled out the COVID-19 vaccination to children ages 5-11, the Lexington–Fayette County Health Department (LFCHD) created an informational YouTube video for parents that includes preparing children for the shot. Watch the Video 

Alabama Department of Public Health Created Educational Website About COVID-19 Vaccine Third Doses and Boosters
The Alabama Department of Public Health provides education around COVID-19 third doses and boosters. Click here to visit their Vaccine Basics page and booster eligibility chart. 

Community Groups and NCDHHS Create Family Vaccination Sites 
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services partnered with community groups to create nine walk-in family vaccination sites across the state to help families get vaccinated against COVID-19. Visit the Site for Locations and Hours

Middle Tennessee Residents Can Receive Free Phone Consultations Through the Elder Care Coach Program
AgeWell is offering Middle Tennessee residents complimentary 30-minute phone consultations through the Eldercare Coach program through the end of February. These confidential calls with a geriatric care professional provide individualized guidance on care and support options. Middle Tennessee residents can sign up for a consultation at or by calling AgeWell’s Helpline at (615) 353-4235.

Do you have a promising practice to share? Please reply to this email and we will feature you in an upcoming issue.

Podcast: AHSCAST - Making Health Care Better

graphic of AHScast logo and recent episodes Everyone deserves quality health care.
Tune into the Alliant Health Solutions Making Health Care Better podcast every other Thursday as they interview guests committed to making health care better. If you are a health care consumer, provider, insurer, system or consultant, this is the podcast for you. View All Podcast Episodes


Upcoming Learning & Action Network (LAN) Events
  • Combined Community Coalitions and Nursing Homes: Remote Patient Monitoring: AdventHealth’s SARS-CoV-2 Response and Outcomes
    Tuesday, December 14 at 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT (30 min.)

    Join us to learn about one health system’s experience implementing remote patient monitoring (RPM). This approach helped provide a safe transition of care for patients suspected of having COVID (PUI) and COVID-positive patients discharged from the ED. When properly implemented, remote patient monitoring prevents avoidable readmissions. Together, we will learn about the elements of an effective RPM program used during COVID and consider the potential for future RPM use in helping to manage patients with chronic diseases.
    Register Now 

Last Month's Learning & Action Network (LAN) Events
  • Combined Community Coalitions and Nursing Homes: Organizational Trauma, Resiliency and the Holidays
    Recorded on November 18, 2021
    The holiday season adds another layer of complexity to leading teams working to build resilience and establish a new normal. In this webinar, we talked about approaches and resources for successfully leading, recognizing and supporting teams through and beyond the holidays.
    View RecordingView Slides | View Materials

We want your feedback

Were You Able to "Use Tomorrow" What You Heard During the LAN Events? 
If Yes, Click Below. 

Nursing Homes LAN Attendees: Click here
Community Coalition LAN Attendees: Click here


Upcoming Infection Prevention Shop Talks
  • December 2021 Shop Talk Call
    Thursday, December 16 at 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT (60 min.)

    Find out about updates and support for surveillance, tracking and infection prevention in nursing homes using the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). This webinar is focused on submitting COVID-19 data but may include other components such as C.diff, UTIs and hand hygiene.
    ​​​​​Register Now
View Previous Shop Talks

Join the Alliant Quality NHSN Group!
Joining the group and conferring rights to Alliant Quality to view NHSN data allows for seamless support and technical assistance.
View Step-By-Step Guide

Alliant Zone Tools Available 
Did you know there are Zone Tools available on the Alliant website? Alliant’s Zone Tools are great resources for quality improvement projects. Click Here to download, print and use the Zone Tools for free.



Behavioral Health​​​​​​

Psychosocial Interventions for Older Adults With Serious Mental Illness 
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created a guide that provides considerations and strategies for interdisciplinary teams, peer specialists, clinicians, registered nurses, behavioral health organizations, and policymakers to understand, select, and implement evidence-based interventions that support older adults with serious mental illness. Get the Guide

Holiday Stress Getting You Down? 
Around the holidays, many people find their stress increasing and depression worsening. Incorporating certain strategies can lessen these issues. Get the Guide

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Tanya Vadala

Remember These Eight Facts to Continue Being Antibiotics Aware

  1. Antibiotics can save lives. They are critical tools for treating life-threatening conditions, such as pneumonia and sepsis. When a patient needs antibiotics, the benefits outweigh the risks of side effects or antibiotic resistance.
  2. Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Talk with your health care provider or veterinarian about the best treatment when you, your family, or an animal is sick.
  3. Antibiotics are only needed to treat infections caused by bacteria, but even some bacterial infections get better without antibiotics, including many sinus infections and some ear infections. ​​​​​
  4. Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as those that cause colds, flu or COVID-19. Respiratory viruses usually go away in a week or two without treatment. Ask your health care professional about the best way to feel better while your body fights off the virus.
  5. Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed. Do not use antibiotics that aren’t prescribed for you by your health care professional. Talk with your health care professional if you have any questions about your antibiotics or develop any side effects. Diarrhea can be a symptom of Clostridioides difficile infection (also called C. difficile or C. diff), which needs to be treated.
  6. If you have animals, talk with your veterinarian about using antibiotics responsibly to keep people and pets healthy. Don’t use antibiotics that aren’t prescribed by your veterinarian.
  7. Store antibiotics safely in your home so children and pets do not accidentally take medicine not meant for them.
  8. Dispose of antibiotics properly. Do not flush them. Medicine take-back programs are a good way to dispose of most types of unneeded or expired drugs safely. Experts are working to better understand antibiotic resistance in the environment (e.g., water, soil) and its possible impact on people.


Essential Resources to Help You Navigate NHSN
Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Data Reporting & Training
Effective August 23, report health care personnel and residents who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 booster (additional vaccine).
Training slides (reference slides 9 & 20-23) 

Who is eligible for the booster? Reference the CDC website for current considerations for use of an additional COVID-19 dose.

Watch Our NHSN Shop Talk Shorts Series!​​​
​​​​​We know you're busy. Our new video series answers the most common questions we receive regarding navigating NHSN in a brief way. Available videos cover the following topics:

View NHSN Shop Talk Video Series

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Melody Brown

Helping Patients and Families Eat Healthy During the Holidays 
December is a month of celebrating holiday traditions and embracing the spirit of giving. Families, friends and communities come together to share in the bounty of delicious and often decadent meals. However, managing blood glucose levels, blood pressure, lipid levels and weight ranges is a tricky task during the feasting of the holiday season.  
Health care teams can help patients, families and care partners by providing self-management tips on managing their chronic conditions while enjoying great meals at holiday festivities. The Healthy Holiday Eating Toolkit from the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists’ (ADCES) provides excellent tips, including Hosting Holiday Big Meals, Healthy and Delicious Meals, Dessert Recipes, and suggestions for self-management ideas. Download the Toolkit 

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Ingris Garcia

Resilience Rounding
Alliant Health Solutions partnered with Planetree International to develop a simple resilience rounding tool for leaders that provides guided questions and can help leaders identify units where staff might need additional support. The questions may also elicit best practices and employee achievements that could be highlighted or shared with staff permission across the organization. Resiliency Rounding Tool

Next Generation Health Care Coalitions: Learning and Evolving from COVID-19
To help health care coalitions integrate best practices and understand how to advance patient care coordination that aligns with 2022-2027 Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) guidance, it is necessary to understand the functions that worked, those that did not, and those that could serve as models for future responses. ASPR TRACIE, in collaboration with the ASPR National Healthcare Preparedness Program (NHPP), conducted a multi-phased effort to gather and analyze information to identify successes and challenges health care coalitions experienced during their pandemic response. This webinar will highlight the key findings from the project, how they will help inform future HPP guidance, and how health care coalitions can use this information to improve their future preparedness, response and recovery efforts. The webinar will take place Wednesday, December 8, 2021, at 2:30 p.m. ET. Register Here 

​​​ Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Carolyn Kazdan

Patient and Caregiver Perspectives on Transitions of Care from Skilled Nursing Facility to Home 
The United Hospital Fund recently released their Pain Points Along the Journey from Skilled Nursing Facility to Home: Patient and Caregiver Perspectives report. The report shares findings from a two-year learning collaborative with eight skilled nursing facilities supported by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. Although the findings may have been affected by COVID, the information shared by 263 patients and 249 caregivers identified opportunities for improvement that included: understanding medications and side effects, understanding signs and symptoms of their conditions post-discharge, assistance with scheduling follow-up appointments, clarity about what home services would be covered by insurance and post-discharge follow-up calls. In addition, “although 90% of patients felt prepared to go home, only 66% of caregivers felt prepared to care for the patient after return home,” suggesting the need for additional improvements in systems to identify, engage and prepare caregivers for discharge. Read the Report 

Trauma-Informed Care and COVID 
The Georgia Culture Change Network is offering a free webinar on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, from 10-11 a.m. ET. The webinar is designed to help you understand a trauma-informed approach to COVID-19 and how it can be used to support and resource nursing home staff in addressing the collective trauma experienced in nursing homes and surrounding communities. Speakers are Leigh-Anne Royster, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Duke University and Jennifer Craft Morgan, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Gerontology Institute at Georgia State University. Register Now

#everyBODYmoves COVID-19 Free Resources
The Johns Hopkins Activity and Mobility program, #everyBODYmoves, offers free downloadable resources to help foster a culture of mobility in institutions as we face unique challenges related to COVID-19. The resources include mobility evaluation tools and informational flyers targeted to patients and providers that can be printed as large as a poster size or used digitally as screen savers or slideshows. These resources are available for download and use under a creative commons license. Download Resources 

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Carolyn Kazdan

Members of the Beneficiary & Family Advisory Council are our partners in making health care better. To join us in this important work, contact Mel Brown or submit this referral form.

Browse resources our council has worked on below: 

Misconceptions about Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines 
The CDC created a webpage that answers frequently asked questions about seasonal flu and the flu vaccine. The webpage offers answers for questions ranging from “Do I really need a flu vaccine every year?” to “Does a flu vaccination increase your risk of getting COVID-19?” You can also find information debunking common misconceptions about the flu vaccine. Visit the Webpage

COVID-19 Vaccination and Other Medical Procedures 
The CDC created a webpage that lists helpful things patients should remember when visiting their health care provider during the pandemic. The list includes remembering to wear a mask and practice physical distancing to asking if your health care provider is vaccinated or if the health care facility requires COVID-19 vaccines for staff. The website also offers guidance on scheduling a mammogram or surgery before or after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Visit the Webpage 

Contact members of the BFAC via Melody Brown

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This material was prepared by Alliant Health Solutions, the Medicare Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Views expressed in this document do not necessarily reflect the official views or policy of CMS or HHS, and any reference to a specific product or entity herein does not constitute endorsement or that product or entity by CMS or HHS. 12SOW-AHSQIN-QIO-TO1-NH-TO1-CC-1214-12/03/21 
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