Home health services provide an alternative for individuals requiring medical care outside the traditional setting of a hospital or nursing facility. While the comfort of home can have a positive impact on recovery time and quality of life, a significant number of patients admitted to home health develop infections.  The expanded scope and intensity of home health services makes infection prevention and control more critical than ever.

The Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (QIN) was awarded special funding to work with home health agencies in the four-state region to develop and test educational interventions to prevent and manage common infections such as respiratory, urinary tract and wound infections. The Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign provides support and technical review of the resources.

Great Plains QIN Program Manager Cheri Fast, RN, has been instrumental in the development of the toolkit content related to infections. As a result, she was recently invited to join the HHQI’s technical expert panel to provide feedback on the Recognizing and Reporting Changes in Skin Conditions Home Health Aide Course developed in response to new Centers for Medicaid & Medicare (CMS) Conditions of Participation.

“I have enjoyed working with the Great Plains QIN-QIO for many years, including recent webinar presentation and providing technical assistance for the infection prevention toolkit materials.” added Misty Kevech, MS, RN, CCP, CPTM, nurse coordinator for Quality Insights. “We are thrilled to have Cheri return the favor as a member of the Technical Expert Panel for this HHQI course development.”

Prior to joining Great Plains QIN, Fast served as the education coordinator at Huron Regional Medical Center where she implemented the wound department. The toolkit project provided the opportunity to combine her passion for wound care and her experience coordinating and educating patients, families and physicians.

“HHQI has been a key supporter of the Home Health Toolkit, and our teams have been working together closely. There is a need for more education and resources for home health staff,” added Fast. “The toolkit and home health aide course will work well together to fulfill this need and improve health outcomes by preventing and managing infections. “

The Recognizing and Reporting Changes in Skin Conditions Home Health Aide Course will be available on HHQI University and is planned for posting the middle of February 2018. Additional topics planned for the Home Health Toolkit include sepsis, antibiotic stewardship, quality improvement and disaster planning.

Infection prevention reaches across many health care settings including home health, nursing facilities and hospitals.  Great Plains QIN provides technical assistance, education and resources to prevent healthcare acquired infections and achieve the aims of better health care, improved health and lower healthcare costs.