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University Hospitals helps create ‘playbook’ for treating and stopping COVID-19 in nursing homes

Posted at 10:34 AM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 10:34:57-04

MIDDLEFIELD, Ohio — University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center now has a playbook of how to better control and stop outbreaks at congregate living facilities like nursing homes.

The playbook began to form after they were asked to help out Growth Strategies at Ohman Living Center in Middlefield when the pandemic first began.

Joshua Wallace is the nursing home’s administrator.

He said early on they had a plan in place to protect the center’s vulnerable population from COVID-19.

“The problem was we had an asymptomatic person that was admitted into the facility,” he said.

That one person ended up spreading it to 60% of staff members.

“You can plan all day long, but when you’re in it, and you’re in the thick of it, you needed an extra source of eyes and you needed extra resources,” said Wallace.

After a long, collaborative, phone call with University Hospitals, the hospital system came into help.

They brought in medical staff and PPE.

“We helped walk them through a strategy to protect those that were not showing symptoms. How do we isolate those who are suspicious of having COVID-19? And then what do we do with the positives?,” said Jonathan Sague with University Hospitals.

From there, a plan was born. They discovered ways to screen, isolate, test, and treat patients and staff members to stop the spread.

It worked. Growth Strategies at Ohman Living Center has recovered and, at this point, has no positive COVID-19 cases.

“We have much stronger protocols in place, based upon the experience, and the plans, and the things that we laid out,” said Wallace. “To be able to say, when we bring someone into the building, how do we safely quarantine them? Even if they’re not symptomatic, how do we protect our frontline caregivers so that that doesn’t happen to them again?,” he said.

Sague said the more information they learn about the virus and more experiences medical professionals have, the better we can control and treat it.

“The wisdom of the community is different now than it was back in March,” Sague said.

Now, the playbook is being used throughout Northeast Ohio.

“We want to share this knowledge and this information. Nothing really in our playbook is more than collecting all the information that you need to be successful from all the different regulatory bodies and agencies to put it in one place,” said Sague.