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Indiana National Guard Deployment at LTCFs Extended to February 2021

Posted Dec 22, 20205 min Read

Regulatory & Clinical

Updated December 22, 2020

On December 22, 2020, Governor Holcomb announced that the National Guard Members will remain in Indiana’s nursing facilities to continue to provide support until the end of February 2021.  The assistance provided by the National Guard Members was previously set to end on December 31, 2020.  National Guard Strike Teams containing clinical personnel will also continue to be available based on facility need, including for residential care facilities.

Updated November 19, 2020

The IHCA/INCAL has received information on the approval of three roles that National Guard Members can perform at nursing facilities:

Social Interaction – Service members may interact with residents to reduce social interaction if the following criteria are met:

  • All parties involved are COVID negative
  • Guard Members are willing to engage with the resident
  • Visitation is conducted in a non-COVID visitation/common area visible by other staff/personnel.

Moving Sanitized Furniture – Guard Members may assist other LTCF staff with movement of sanitized furniture to other areas of the facility. Guard members are NOT to be in resident rooms unaccompanied or only with the room resident.

Meal Tray Delivery – Guard Members are able to deliver meal trays to hallways outside of the rooms if this task is normally handled by clinical staff, and permits the clinical staff to perform direct clinical care. Guard Members are to remain in the “cold zone” hallways.

Updated Nov. 11, 2020

Presented below are some informational resources and an updated version of the National Guard Deployment for Indiana’s long-term care facilities. Please access these new resources below:

On October 21, 2020, Governor Holcomb and the Indiana Department of Health (IDH) announced the Indiana National Guard would be utilized for administrative and other similar tasks at nursing facilities in Indiana, in order for nursing facility staff to be able to focus their time on providing resident care.

The Indiana National Guard will be sent to nursing facilities in three phases—on November 2, November 9, and November 16—based on the need / outbreak status of the facility.  Those nursing facilities in Phase 1 and Phase 2 will be assigned three guard members each, and those nursing facilities in Phase 3 will be assigned two guard members each.  For a list of the phases and to locate your nursing facility in the applicable phase, please download the following spreadsheet.  For more information regarding coverage times at the nursing facilities, please click here.  The Indiana National Guard are expected to provide assistance through the end of February 2021.

While onsite, the Indiana National Guard will provide support that is not direct resident care and will report to the facility’s Administrator to be assigned day-to-day responsibilities.  Each Indiana National Guard member will also have a supervising officer, who will be the facility’s point of contact for questions or concerns.  IHCA/INCAL has asked that the Indiana National Guard members provide that contact information to the facility’s Administrator upon their initial arrival.

Please note:

  • National Guard personnel should be tested on the same frequency as other staff in the facility according the CMS testing requirements.  National Guard personnel will come with testing supplies for their tests (Binax cards is our understanding).  Facilities are to report these POC antigen test results in the facility’s reports to state and federal governments.
  • IDH has also informed IHCA/INCAL that the commander for each National Guard service member is allowed to visit the service member while they are on duty at a nursing facility.  The commander is likely to be in military uniform, is required to wear appropriate PPE, is required to be screened, and is required to limit their presence in the facility to the front lobby or other areas without residents.  IDH has stated that commanders do not need to be tested for these visits.

Recommendations for how best to utilize this role are as follows:

  • Data Entry and Testing Support:  Support nursing facility testing requirements by entering test results or other mandatory reporting into computer systems, as well as set-up and clean-up of testing equipment.
  • Visitor and Staff Screening:  Be stationed at entry points to the facility and screen staff/visitors with COVID-19 questions, temperatures checks, mask handout, and basic directions.  In addition, guard members will be asked to report to local administrators, and their reporting officers, if they observe any infection control concerns.
  • Facilitation of Family Visitation:  Assist with disinfection of designated visitation spaces, as well as observation of visits to ensure family and residents adhere to social distancing and PPE requirements.
  • Cleaning and Disinfection:  Help with COVID-19 disinfection of high touch areas of the facility (e.g., door handles).  This would not include routine janitorial duties (e.g., disposing of trash, cleaning soiled linens, mopping floors).
  • PPE stocking and tracking:  Help with stocking COVID-19 negative areas of the facility with PPE supplies.
  • Other duties:  Additional duties may be added if they meet the principles previously outlined and are jointly approved by the Indiana National Guard and IDH.  IHCA/INCAL will provide specific contact information when available.

In addition to training provided by the Indiana National Guard, all guard members assigned to nursing facilities will undergo orientation training provided by Probari on the structure of nursing facilities, infection prevention and control practices, and HIPAA and compliance issues.  Nursing facilities will likely need to provide additional training based on the tasks assigned.

About the Author

Laura Brown, Director of Legislative and Legal Affairs