March is Careers in Aging Month!

In the past, AHCA/NCAL and providers across the country have celebrated Careers in Aging Week to bring recognition to the numerous career opportunities available in long term care and aging services and to celebrate current caregivers in the industry. In 2024, we are extending the celebration and the month of March will now be dedicated to Careers in Aging Month! Join us in promoting these rewarding careers for the month-long observation!

Learn more by going to https://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Save-the-Date-for-Careers-in-Aging-MONTH-.aspx

Maintaining Your Respiratory Protection Program in LTC Centers: Actions and Frequencies

Long term care (LTC) centers must adhere to specific requirements for compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134). The nature of airborne hazards, the presence of respiratory threats, the specific respiratory protection program, and the resulting compliance requirements will vary between organizations. Employers must recognize that once a Respiratory Protection Program (RPP) is established, ongoing maintenance is necessary to ensure compliance with the OSHA standard.

https://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Maintaining-Your-Respiratory-Protection-Program-in-LTC-Centers-Actions-and-Frequencies.aspx

Navigating “Safety” in Long Term Care Centers: Separating the Roles of OSHA and the CMS requirements for Emergency Preparedness

Continuation: 

In this third article regarding the connection between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Life Safety and Emergency Preparedness (EP) Requirements, the focus will be on how OSHA’s regulations overlap with CMS’ EP requirements, found in 42 CFR 483.73 (Appendix Z).
It’s important to note that CMS’ EP requirements do NOT apply to assisted living, however any OSHA requirements do apply.

A Roadmap to OSHA Requirements = A Vital Guide for Long Term Care Providers

Understanding and adhering to Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) standards is a critical responsibility for long term care providers. To assist in this crucial task, AHCA/NCAL has released “A Roadmap to OSHA Requirements,” a comprehensive resource designed to simplify OSHA​regulations for providers.​

This roadmap is a practical guide, offering detailed insights into relevant OSHA standards and how they intersect with CDC guidelines and CMS requirements. The roadmap doesn’t just cover existing regulations; it also provides previews of upcoming OSHA changes that could impact long term care. This preview is essential for staying abreast of future regulatory requirements and maintaining a safe environment for your staff.

AHCA/NCAL’s roadmap is an invaluable tool for long term care providers seeking to navigate the complexities of OSHA compliance. It also underscores the long term care communities commitment to maintaining high standards of workplace safety and health.

Explore “A Roadmap to OSHA Requirements” to enhance your organization’s compliance and safety practices. Access this vital resource on the AHCA/NCAL website: A Roadmap to OSHA Requirements.​

https://www.ahcancal.org/Survey-Regulatory-Legal/Documents/A%20Roadmap%20to%20OSHA%20Requirements.pdf

Navigate the Ongoing Challenges of COVID-19 with #GetVaccinated Resources

A common misperception that exists is that COVID-19 is no longer a serious virus, and some may even believe that it’s less serious than influenza. While the rates of serious illness, hospitalizations, and death from COVID-19 are significantly lower than during the height of the pandemic in early 2020 and 2021, recent data indicates that COVID-19 remains more serious than influenza.

#GETVACCINATED RESOURCES
Now more than ever, we need all members to build a resilient defense against the ongoing threat of respiratory viruses, especially COVID-19.

Download and share the latest information to encourage vaccinations in AHCA/NCAL’s #GetVaccinated toolkit at getvaccinated.us/.

FEATURED 

  • Reimbursement Guide: Frequently asked questions on vaccine payment options.
  • Template Letters: Tailored for the organization’s Medical Director to residents and staff.
  • Talking Points: To assist with vaccination conversations.

Explore other resources at getvaccinated.us/.

Respiratory Protection in Long Term Care

Most long term care (LTC) centers had no need for respirators before the pandemic because any patients with airborne infectious diseases were transferred and cared for in appropriate and capable alternate facilities. Moving forward, however, respirators and the compliance obligations that come with them are now part of the expected infection control and employee safety programs in most LTC centers. Importantly, OSHA has an entire standard devoted to respirators, the Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134). While the OSHA standard can be complicated and is highly dependent on the type of hazard and respirator used, the following highlights the basic requirements that affect most LTC centers.

Read more at https://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Respiratory-Protection-in-Long-Term-Care.aspx

Personal Protective Equipment, Hazard Assessment Standard, and the Hierarchy of Controls

The Hierarchy of Controls
When conducting a hazard assessment to determine PPE, it is important to understand that PPE is only one control measure. In fact, PPE is the last safety measure to consider as you see in the illustration below. In long term care, we use a mix of measures to minimize occupational hazards. In OSHA’s vocabulary, this mix is known as the “hierarchy of controls,”  which consists of FIVE levels: elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
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The most effective measures are at the top of the hierarchy, with elimination and substitution being the preferred methods. These involve removing the hazard entirely or replacing it with something less hazardous. Engineering controls come next, focusing on designing and isolating hazards. Examples of such controls in LTC might be negative pressure rooms or barrier walls for protection against airborne infectious agents. Administrative controls involve changing work practices and policies, including infection control procedures and hand-washing protocols.

Stay Informed. Stay Protected. New Resources for Long Term Care Providers

With winter and holiday gatherings right around the corner, it’s important to be well-prepared against respiratory viruses.

For the first time, vaccines are available to help protect against severe illness caused by all three of the major fall and winter respiratory viruses—flu, COVID-19, and RSV. People may choose to get flu, COVID-19, and RSV vaccines at the same visit if they are eligible, making it easier to stay up to date with CDC-recommended vaccines, while others may prefer to get their recommended vaccines at separate visits.

For those people, there is no need to wait a specific amount of time after receiving one vaccine to get the next one. Getting all three vaccines at the same visit can help protect people who are at higher risk of getting seriously sick from flu, COVID-19, or RSV or who may not be able to return to their provider.

Scientific studies during the last three years indicate that it is safe to get both a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same visit. Additionally, coadministration of flu vaccines and the new RSV vaccines was found to be safe in clinical tri​als. While there are no clinical trial data on getting all three vaccines at the same time, CDC is continuing to monitor the safety of RSV vaccines, as it does for all vaccines. Getting multiple vaccines at the same visit may increase the risk of some side effects from vaccination. When side effects do occur, they are typically mild to moderate, like arm pain, swelling, headache, and fatigue. These side effects are usually short-lived.

Whether individuals choose to get flu, COVID-19, and RSV vaccines at the same visit or at separate visits, the most important thing is that they get all vaccines recommended to protect themselves against these and other potentially serious illnesses this fall and winter.

Additional Resources Available on #GetVaccinated Website.

  • Explore “Vaccine Information for Residents and Staff,” a hot topic brief for providers that emphasizes the crucial role of providing residents, their families and staff Vaccine Information Sheets (VIS).
  • Discover new insights in “Pneumonia Vaccine Timing for Adults” to help ensure adults stay up to date with pneumococcal vaccinations.

Access the latest #GetVaccinated resources.

Encourage Action During National Influenza Vaccination Week

National Influenza Vaccination Week, which runs from December 4-8, is the perfect time to get a flu shot. This week highlights the importance of flu vaccines which are crucial in reducing the risk of illness, hospitalization, and even death.

The impact of influenza is substantial, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating 9 million illnesses, 4 million medical visits, 10,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths during the 2021-2022 season.