news grant funding provides uva health with 1 2 million toward covid 19 prevention
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Grant funding provides UVA Health with $1.2 million toward COVID-19 prevention

uva healthUVA Health has been awarded $1.2 million in state and federal grants for work to reduce COVID-19 infections in Virginia’s long-term care facilities.

UVA Health care providers will work with the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center and create an online resource of best practices for infection control and prevention at nursing homes and similar facilities, according to a press release.

The online resource will be called the Virginia Infection Control Center of Excellence website.

“Our goal is to establish a trusted one-stop shop for long-term care facilities to help them protect their patients and staff,” UVA Health geriatrician Dr. Laurie R. Archbald-Pannone, the program’s lead physician, said in the press release.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities were especially vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic because of patient health challenges. In response, UVA Health created the Geriatric Engagement and Resource Integration for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Facilities (GERI-PaL) program. Long-term care facilities were able to consult with UVA infectious disease experts on infection control through the program; receive COVID-19 guidance via telehealth; consult with UVA physicians on individual patients and had patients transferred to the hospital; have medical student volunteers call residents to reduce social isolation; and have regular discussions with a nurse liaison to ensure each facility’s needs were being met.

The first two facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks showed a 12 percent and 19 percent mortality rate, according to a research paper, compared with a 28 percent mortality rate at a long-term care facility in Washington state. GERI-PaL assisted the two Virginia facilities, and was named runner-up in the 2020 Health Quality Innovators of the Year Awards.

“One of the major takeaways from our GERI-PaL work was that providing educational resources in response to community needs can have a significant effect on enhancing care for some of our most vulnerable patients,” Archbald-Pannone said in the press release. “We hope to build on that experience to provide a broader array of best practices to assist our colleagues in long-term care facilities across Virginia.”

The project is part of the Virginia Department of Health’s Virginia Long-Term Care Infrastructure Pilot Projects program, and is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.

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