FAQs About Study Participation

What is the purpose of this study and who is funding it?

The purpose of this study is to learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic changed infection control programs in post-acute care settings, such as nursing homes and home health agencies. We will also explore how the pandemic impacted patient care transitions from hospitals to other healthcare settings, such as home health care and nursing homes, particularly for vulnerable patients (e.g., rural residents, persons of color).

The study is funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Who is conducting the study?

The study is being conducted by Drs. Jingjing Shang and Patricia Stone (co-principal investigators) and other researchers from the Columbia University School of Nursing, in collaboration with research teams at the RAND Corporation and University of Rochester Medical Center.

Specific FAQs about Qualitative Interviews

Which nursing homes and home health care agencies are eligible and how many will participate?

Facilities and agencies have been sampled based on geographic location and other facility and agency characteristics, such as CMS Star Ratings. We believe your facility or agency meets our eligibility criteria. Up to 10 nursing homes and 10 home health care agencies will be able to participate in this study.

What is involved in participation?

A member of our study team will conduct in-depth, telephone interviews with up to 3 different personnel from your facility or agency who have some knowledge about patient care and infection prevention and control policies and procedures. We aim to recruit the following personnel: infection preventionist/employee in charge of infection control, field RN, and nursing aide/home health aide.

We anticipate that each interview will last between 30 to 90 minutes. Each interview will be conducted one‐on‐one, and will be audiotaped for transcription purposes. While we will ask specific questions about patient care transitions and current infection prevention and control processes and policies at the facility/agency, we are primarily interested in the thoughts and experiences of personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic. All data will be confidential, and no facility/agency or individual will be identified in any report.

What are the benefits of participation?

While there is no direct benefit to your facility or agency, we understand you and your staff’s time is valuable. Therefore, we will provide an honorarium of $100 per participant (up to $300 per facility/agency) in the form of a gift card. This honorarium will be given either directly to the participants or to the facility/agency, based on institutional policy/preference.

Next steps and who should I contact if I have additional questions?

To discuss participation and confirm eligibility, we can schedule a short informational call at a time that is convenient for you. If your facility or agency is eligible to participate, we will ask you to identify up to 3 personnel. We will then schedule the telephone interviews at times that are convenient for those personnel. For further information, please contact the research team at: 833-8-ACROSS (833-822-7677) or nursing_across-care@cumc.columbia.edu.

Specific FAQs about Home Health Survey

Which home health care agencies are eligible and how many will participate?

Agencies have been randomly selected from Medicare-certified home healthcare agencies across the nation. We used scientific sampling procedures to select the agencies based on geographical location and ownership. Approximately 1,500 agencies from the 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico will be invited to participate. Our invitation is addressed to the staff member who is likely in charge of infection prevention and control at the agency (e.g., administrator, clinical manager, infection preventionist, quality improvement manager).

What is involved in participation?

Participation involves completing the study questionnaire, which takes approximately 20 minutes. The questionnaire can be completed on the paper booklet that was mailed to the agency or online. If preferred, the questionnaire is also available in Spanish. There are questions about infection prevention and control and COVID-19 experiences. Your agency’s experiences are valuable because they represent experiences of other agencies like yours. All data will be confidential, and no agency or individual will be identified in any report. Once we receive your completed questionnaire, we’ll send a $25 Amazon gift card, as a thank you!

What are the benefits of participation?

The goal of this study is to improve our understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted infection control programs and care transitions from home health care to hospitals and nursing homes for vulnerable patients (e.g., rural residents, persons of color). From the study results, we will generate action items so post-acute care settings can more effectively respond to the current and future infectious disease crises. While you may not personally benefit from participating, the knowledge we gain from the study will help your agency and others like it around the country.

Who should I contact if I have additional questions?

If you have questions or would like to request the study materials in Spanish, please contact the research team at: nursing_hhstudy@cumc.columbia.edu  or 855-HH-STUDY (855-447-8839).