CDC Updates Infection Prevention and Control Assessment Tool for Nursing Homes Preparing for COVID-19

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

CDC posted an update to the previous ICAR tool on January 7, 2022.  Infection Control Assessment and Response (ICAR) tools are used to systematically assess a healthcare facility’s infection prevention and control (IPC) practices and guide quality improvement activities (e.g., by addressing identified gaps).

This update includes Additions to reflect updated guidance such as SARS-CoV-2 testing in nursing homes, COVID-19 immunization of residents and healthcare personnel (HCP), situations in which source control is recommended for HCP, and how community levels of transmission affect personal protective equipment used when caring for residents without suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.

This update does not include changes to Isolation and Quarantine guidance posted in December 2021. This tool will be updated as nursing home guidance is updated.

Please contact to request the most current draft of the ICAR tool in development as new guidance is released. 

Similar to previous updates, facilitators may decide whether to use the tool in its entirety or select among the pool of questions that best fit their jurisdictional needs and priorities as part of quality improvement efforts.

This tool is intended to help assess IPC practices for nursing homes without an active outbreak of COVID-19. However, public health jurisdictions may choose to modify this tool to fit their needs beyond this defined scope. For example, jurisdictions may choose to modify the tool to assess facilities experiencing an outbreak. While many of the concepts covered in this tool should be reviewed regardless of outbreak status (e.g., PPE use, hand hygiene, environmental cleaning), some areas may require more in-depth review such as current outbreak epidemiology (e.g., affected units, number of exposed HCP and residents), resident cohorting strategies, facility management of symptomatic or exposed residents, testing strategies, and mitigating staffing shortages. In addition, the video or in-person tour should dedicate more time to observing IPC practices in the designated COVID-19 area.