The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released two new supportive resources to help encourage nursing home operators to add observational audits to their infection control toolbox.

Observational audits can help facility operators understand whether staff members are fully adhering to infection prevention practices, the organization announced Friday. The two offerings include the following comparison tool and step-by-step guide:

Competency Check versus. Observational Audit: 

Validate Nursing Home Staff Performance to Improve Infection Prevention Processes for COVID-19 is a comparison tool designed to help skilled nursing facilities differentiate between competency validation for regulatory compliance and observational auditing for quality assurance performance improvement activities, the AHRQ said.

Observational Audits: 

A Pathway to Improving Infection Prevention and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 is a step-by-step guide that helps facilities establish a process for observational auditing to provide a true assessment of performance in the actual work environment. It also helps facilities collect data to support improvements in infection prevention.

The new tools are provided as part of the AHRQ ECHO National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network, which provides free training and mentorship on infection prevention and safety practices.