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BMC Geriatr ; 21(1): 588, 2021 10 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477265


BACKGROUND: To protect nursing home residents, many governments around the world implemented blanket visitor bans in March and April 2020. As a consequence, family caregivers, friends, and volunteers were not allowed to enter nursing homes, while residents were not allowed to go out. Up until now, little is known on the long-term consequences and effects of visiting bans and re-opening of nursing homes. The aim of the study was to assess the long-term effects of the pandemic on residents, family members, and staff, and their preparedness for the next coronavirus wave. METHODS: A mixed-methods approach was used, consisting of a questionnaire and analyses of documentation (local visiting protocols). Of the 76 nursing home locations that participated in a Dutch national pilot on welcoming visitors back into nursing homes, 64 participated in this follow-up study. Data were collected in September/October 2020. For each nursing home, one contact person completed the questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were calculated for quantitative questionnaire data. Data on open-ended questions, as well as data from the documentation, were analyzed thematically. RESULTS: The study demonstrated that the consequences of strict visiting bans do not disappear at the moment the visiting ban is lifted. Although in October 2020, daily life in nursing homes was more "back to normal," more than one-third of the respondents indicated that they still applied restrictions. Compared to the situation before the pandemic, fewer volunteers were working in the nursing homes, grandchildren visited their relative less often, and visits differed. CONCLUSIONS: Five months after the visiting ban in Dutch nursing homes had been lifted, it still had an impact on residents, family members, and staff. It is questionable whether nursing homes feel prepared for welcoming visitors in the case of new COVID-19 infections. Nursing homes indicated that they felt prepared for the next wave, while at the same time, they were particularly concerned about staff well-being and vitality. It seems wise to invest in staff well-being. In addition, it seems desirable to think about how to support nursing homes in seeking a balance between infection prevention and well-being of residents, family members, and staff.

COVID-19 , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Nursing Homes , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
Int Psychogeriatr ; : 1-8, 2021 Apr 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1169351


OBJECTIVES: On May 11, the Dutch Government allowed 26 nursing homes to welcome 1 visitor per resident, after 2 months of lockdown. The study aimed to monitor in-depth the feasibility of the regulations and their impact on the well-being of residents, their visitors, and healthcare staff. DESIGN: Mixed-methods study in 5 of the 26 facilities; the facilities were affiliated to an academic network of nursing homes. PARTICIPANTS: Visitors and healthcare professionals. INTERVENTION: Allowing visitors using local regulations based on national guidelines. MEASUREMENTS: Digital questionnaire, analyzing documentation such as infection prevention control protocols, attending meetings of COVID-19 crisis teams, in-depth telephone or in-person interviews with visitors and healthcare professionals, and on-site observations. RESULTS: National guidelines were translated with great variety into local care practice. Healthcare professionals agreed that reopening would increase the well-being of the residents and their loved ones. However, there were also great worries for increasing workload, increasing the risk of emotional exhaustion, and the risk of COVID-19 infections. Compliance with local regulations was generally satisfactory, but maintaining social distance and correctly wearing face masks appeared to be difficult. Care staff remained ambivalent for fear of infections. In general, allowing visitors was experienced as having a positive impact on the well-being of all stakeholders. Nevertheless, some residents with dementia showed negative effects. CONCLUSION: The complete lockdown of Dutch nursing homes had a substantial impact on the well-being of the residents. The reopening was welcomed by all stakeholders, but provided a high organizational workload as well as feelings of ambivalence among care staff. In the second wave, a more tailored approach is being implemented. However, facilities are sometimes still struggling to find the right balance between infection control and well-being.

J Am Med Dir Assoc ; 21(7): 900-904, 2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-598614


OBJECTIVES: To prevent and control COVID-19 infections, nursing homes across the world have taken very restrictive measures, including a ban for visitors. These restrictive measures have an enormous impact on residents' well-being and pose dilemmas for staff, although primary data are lacking. A Dutch guideline was developed to cautiously open nursing homes for visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study reports the first findings on how the guideline was applied in the local context; the compliance to local protocols; and the impact on well-being of residents, their family caregivers, and staff. DESIGN: A mixed-methods cross-sectional study was conducted. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: In total, 26 nursing homes were permitted to enlarge their possibilities for allowing visitors in their facility. These nursing homes were proportionally representative of the Netherlands as they were selected by their local Area Health Authority for participation. At each nursing home, a contact person was selected for participation in the current study. METHODS: A mixed-methods cross-sectional study was conducted, consisting of questionnaire, telephone interviews, analyses of documentation (ie, local visiting protocols), and a WhatsApp group. RESULTS: Variation in local protocols was observed, for example, related to the use of personal protective equipment, location, and supervision of visits. In general, experiences were very positive. All nursing homes recognized the added value of real and personal contact between residents and their loved ones and indicated a positive impact on well-being. Compliance with local guidelines was sufficient to good. No new COVID-19 infections were reported during this time. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: These results indicate the value of family visitation in nursing homes and positive impact of visits. Based on these results, the Dutch government has decided to allow all nursing homes in the Netherlands to cautiously open their homes using the guidelines. More research is needed on impact and long-term compliance.

Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Guidelines as Topic , Infection Control/organization & administration , Nursing Homes/organization & administration , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Visitors to Patients/legislation & jurisprudence , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Geriatric Assessment , Guideline Adherence , Homes for the Aged/organization & administration , Humans , Male , Netherlands , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Patient Safety , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology