A nurse works at a computer

As home health providers grapple with seemingly endless employee churn, industry authorities, researchers and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have prioritized creating tools to promote rapid and effective competency training.

“We have been contracted by CMS to create some new modules that help get nurses up to proficiency faster,” Kara Kiessling, PhD, an associate research specialist at Arbor Research, said during an information session hosted by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice on Thursday. “A lot of new nurses coming in do not have the same institutional knowledge that used to exist because people got out of the workforce. So this is really an initiative from CMS to close the gap that currently exists.”

The Rapid Competency and Quality Improvement Initiative (RCQI) aims to efficiently train care professionals on best practices, quality indicators and safety measures, according to a statement by Arbor Research. The tool itself will be a web-based platform with modules for different care settings, including home healthcare. Arbor’s experts noted that the research firm is collaborating with industry and health professionals to create informative, effective content, as the costs of turnover and subsequent training of new employees can be a strain for many providers.

“We are discussing with the National Association for home care and hospice with their experts, getting information, and other experts in the area,” Kiessling said. “We’re covering our bases with experts to make sure that the content is good and that we’re following any best practices and not reinventing the wheel.”

Professionals will be able to learn specifically about hygiene, safety, culturally and linguistically appropriate services, behavioral healthcare and quality management tools. RCQI is currently in its initial engagement and stakeholder input phase, and pilot testing will begin in March 2024.

“These modules are going to be a free resource to support you in the work that you’re doing,” Kiessling said. “There’s no element of them that is going to be mandatory.”

Arbor Research is currently soliciting stakeholder input to refine the training modules’ content. Providers were encouraged to reach out via email with questions or recommendations.