Training Case Investigators and Contact Tracers

Case investigation & contact tracing training

CDC has trained case investigators and contact tracers for over 40 years. Typically, training includes a blend of knowledge-based and skills-based coursework. Initial knowledge-based training covers disease-specific information, client-centered counseling and motivational interviewing techniques, assessment of risk and other social support needs, and approaches to facilitate confidential client communication. Initial skills-based training uses interview technique modeling, scripted language, case scenarios, and role-playing. These trainings are followed by on-the-job learning supported by experienced staff.

Similar techniques can be applied to the training of the COVID-19 surge workforce. All new staff mobilized to support case investigation and contact tracing will need a comprehensive overview of COVID-19 and the investigative process. Training for each of the case investigation and contact tracing roles should cover disease-specific information, interview guides, and protocols that include referral of high-risk individuals and complex cases to clinical staff, guidance on maintaining privacy/confidentiality, and referrals to support services, and should also include interactive skills-based training. CDC’s website provides COVID-19 Contact Tracing Training Guidance and Resources. Given the more nuanced work of the case investigator, staff conducting follow-up with clients with COVID-19 should be provided with a more intensive skills-based training. This should include special emphasis on enhancing their ability to navigate difficult conversations.

The urgency in standing-up the case investigation and contact tracing workforce requires that the training for COVID-19 be abbreviated. Therefore, we recommend supervisory structures in state, territorial, local, and tribal health jurisdictions to provide guidance and mentorship for new trainees to ensure quality of practice.

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Author: Admin

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