Observational audits can help skilled nursing operators understand who on staff is adhering to infection prevention practices, says the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). To support these audits, the agency has released two new resources:

  • Validate Nursing Home Staff Performance to Improve Infection Prevention Processes for COVID-19 is a comparison tool that explains the difference between the competency check to meet education and regulatory compliance and the observational audits that are part of the ongoing Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI) process. Observational audits allow facilities to obtain accurate compliance rates and identify process failures, such as a step in the handwashing process that some staff miss. These are data points necessary for an effective QAPI project.
  • A Pathway to Improving Infection Prevention and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 will help skilled nursing facilities get started with observational auditing so they have useful data to guide improvement. The document states, “Observational audits are the best ways to understand if your staff fully comply with infection prevention practices because audit observations are made while staff perform their usual duties.” The Pathway tool will help providers focus on each aspect of infection prevention including hand hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE) use, and environmental cleaning.

These new tools are offered as part of the AHRQ ECHO National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network, which provides free training and mentorship on infection prevention and safety practices to nursing homes across the country. This program is designed to help increase the implementation of evidence-based infection prevention and safety practices to protect residents and staff.

Click here to download Validate Nursing Home Staff Performance to Improve Infection Prevention Processes for COVID-19.

Click here to download A Pathway to Improving Infection Prevention and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19.