Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 and Health Promotion Programs

Can we implement programs remotely while in-person programs are not possible?

Evidence-based program developers are issuing guidance on options for implementation remotely. We are tracking program guidance here 

Remote implementation will be feasible for some programs and not for others. As you look for creative ways to continue delivery of programming, consult with program developers directly to ensure alternative delivery mechanisms (like virtual classes) are congruent with program fidelity.  

If you are currently funded by the Administration for Community Living, contact your Project Officer about any changes to program delivery. 

Can Administration for Community Living discretionary grant and/or Title III-D funding be used to support remote implementation?

See the Administration for Community Living’s FAQ: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Programs – March 12, 2020 (PDF):

“It is not an expectation that ACL grantees, both formula and discretionary, are delivering in-person evidence-based programs at this time. Alternative delivery mechanisms (like virtual classes) may not be congruent with program fidelity. Only delivery adaptations that are approved by evidence-based program administrators should be implemented by ACL
grantees (formula and discretionary). Please visit the National Council on Aging’s Health Promotion Program Guidance During COVID-19 webpage for resources about delivery adaptations, including a list of requirements (organized by program). Permission to utilize alternate deliver mechanisms is approved only in the context of COVID-19 response, per applicable federal, state, and/or local guidance, and not for long-term program operations.”

If the programs I am delivering cannot be delivered remotely, how do I find alternatives? 

Identify programs that can be implemented remotely here: Track Health Promotion Program Guidance During COVID-19. Use this list to determine whether any alternatives appear appropriate for your organization and population. Search the NCOA website as well as the individual program websites to get a more comprehensive vision of the program. If you still have questions or concerns, contact the program developer to get more information to help you make your decision.  

What are some options for delivering programs remotely using the internet?  

  • Videoconference options: Zoom, Skype Video, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, Google Hangouts Meet, among others. 
  • Options to post videos: YouTube, Facebook Live, Vimeo, among others. 

How can we deliver programs to those who do not have internet access?  

Consider mailing the Tool Kit for Active Living with Chronic Conditions to individuals that cannot participate online. This can be provided alone or with follow-up phone calls. 

One-on-one programs like Healthy IDEAS, PEARLS, and EnhanceWellness can continue by phone.

Alternatively, hold one-on-one calls to discuss overall well-being or mail printed materials about the importance of staying active while social distancing. Find resources here: Encouraging Older Adults to Stay Active and Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic. Note: This is not part of an evidence-based program. 

How do we manage programs canceled mid-way?

Go here for specific guidance per program. Generally, we recommend the following:

  • Canceled with less than half of the program complete: Start over remotely (if allowable) or in-person when conditions are safe.
  • Canceled after half of the program complete: Continue the program remotely (if allowable) or end the program now and record available attendance. Some programs are recommending pausing the program and holding a “refresher” session prior to re-starting in-person. If remote continuation is not possible, consider following up with participants informally by phone.
  • Participant attendance can be recorded in the National Chronic Disease Self-Management Education or Falls Prevention Databases, even if the entire program was not implemented. If a participant completed 2/3rds of the workshop, they will be counted as a “completer,” even if the entire workshop was not delivered.
  • The database is being updated with a field that will indicate if a workshop was held while operations were suspended due to COVID-19. The retention rate for all workshops marked as being held during the COVID-19 pandemic will be removed from grantees/networks overall retention rate.

Do leaders need to complete special training to deliver programs virtually?

This depends on the program (see guidance by program here). The Self-Management Resource Center does not require a special training to lead virtual workshops, but provided tips here. Other programs are offering webinars on implementing remote programs.

Generally, if you are moving in-person implementation to online, consider leader characteristics that will make this most successful (If you develop a process, let us know!) 

Here are some resources that can be adapted for training leaders to offer virtual programs: 

How can we keep program leaders engaged while community classes are not available?

If you can implement remote programs…

  • Some leader trainings can still be held online (Track Health Promotion Program Guidance During COVID-19)
  • If you are moving in-person implementation to online, mobilize leaders to begin remote classes.
  • Connect leaders by phone or video-conference to troubleshoot issues around remote implementation.

If you cannot implement remote programs…

  • Consider ways you can use program infrastructure to reduce social isolation. For example, recommend they call or e-mail previous participants or other clients for an informal conversation about well-being and needs during this time. Or ask if they want to stay involved with older adults by volunteering to deliver meals, prescriptions, or other necessities.
  • Connect leaders by phone or video-conference to update them on current plans for workshops and encourage them to stay connected with each other during social distancing.