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Your skilled nursing facility’s COVID-19 communication plan

The news surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak changes rapidly as new cases are detecting, new communities are affected, governments enact preventative measures and the medical community looks for treatments. Within your skilled nursing facility, timely communication with staff and residents, and residents’ families, is critical in helping to stop the spread of the disease and maintain calm. Sharing information effectively and quickly becomes even more important if a case is suspected or confirmed within your facility.

That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that skilled nursing facilities have a COVID-19 communication plan1 in place as part of their preparedness in responding to the pandemic. Your plan should allow you to quickly share up-to-date information on COVID-19 prevention, as well as to rapidly inform residents, staff and families of a COVID-19 infection.

Key considerations for a COVID-19 communication plan

  • Whether you have the infrastructure in place to quickly share important information about COVID-19 with staff, residents and their families
  • How you can respond to the CDC’s COVID-19 updates and share that information with your SNF community
  • How you can verify that staff and residents have received and understood important information regarding COVID-19
  • The evaluation of your staff’s ability to put COVID-19 safety measures into place after those measures have been communicated
  • How communication fits into your COVID-19 emergency response protocol

The CDC recommends the COVID-19 communication plan for your skilled nursing facility goes beyond simply disseminating printed materials. You want to be sure that your residents, staff and community are receiving and responding to the important information you share. Staff should undergo COVID-19 safety training, residents should be educated on the measures they can take and your facility should have an educational library your residents and staff can turn to as a resource.2

Ongoing infection surveillance during COVID-19

Your skilled nursing facility plays an important role in monitoring and sharing information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure you have a plan in place that will allow you to effectively share relevant COVID-19 information.

Tracking data related to the COVID-19 infection can help your facility respond to potential cases of the disease. Find out how ABILITY INFECTIONWATCH can help your facility monitor infection and infection response data.


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Preparedness Checklist for Nursing Homes and Other Long-term Care Settings. Accessed March 23, 2020.

2. Wilkins, D. Coronavirus: Is your senior living facility prepared for a widespread outbreak? McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. March 5, 2020.

Inovalon and design®, Inovalon® and INFECTIONWATCH® are trademarks of Inovalon, Inc.

About the author

Laurie Laxton, R.N., B.S.N., C.M.A.S., C.C.F.A., R.A.C.-C.T., I.P.-B.C., Q.C.P., Principal Clinical Trainer