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BMC Health Serv Res ; 21(1): 1153, 2021 Oct 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484313


INTRODUCTION: Antigen-based lateral flow devices (LFDs) offer the potential of widespread rapid testing. The scientific literature has primarily focused on mathematical modelling of their use and test performance characteristics. For these tests to be implemented successfully, an understanding of the real-world contextual factors that allow them to be integrated into the workplace is vital. To address this gap in knowledge, we aimed to explore staff's experiences of integrating LFDs into routine practice for visitors and staff testing with a view to understand implementation facilitators and barriers. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis. RESULTS: We identified two main themes and five subthemes. The main themes included: visitor-related testing factors and staff-related testing factors. Subthemes included: restoring a sense of normality, visitor-related testing challenges, staff-related testing challenges, and pre-pilot antecedent factors. CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrates that the real-world implementation of LFDs to test visitors and staff faces significant challenges as a result of several contextual factors negatively affecting the work practice and environment. More comprehensive studies are needed to identify and inform effective implementation strategies to ensure that LFDs can be adopted in an agile way that better supports an already exhausted and morally depleted workforce.

COVID-19 , Long-Term Care , Humans , Nursing Homes , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2
Age Ageing ; 50(6): 1868-1875, 2021 11 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1316792


INTRODUCTION: Care homes have been severely affected by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Rapid antigen testing could identify most SARS-CoV-2 infected staff and visitors before they enter homes. We explored implementation of staff and visitor testing protocols using lateral flow devices (LFDs). METHODS: An evaluation of a SARS-CoV-2 LFD-based testing protocol in 11 care homes in Liverpool, UK, including staff and visitor testing, plus a qualitative exploratory study in nine of these homes. The proportion of pilot homes with outbreaks, and outbreak size, were compared to non-pilot homes in Liverpool. Adherence to testing protocols was evaluated. Fifteen staff were interviewed, and transcript data were thematically coded using an iterative analysis to identify and categorize factors influencing testing implementation. RESULTS: In total, 1,638 LFD rapid tests were performed on 407 staff. Protocol adherence was poor with 8.6% of staff achieving >75% protocol adherence, and 25.3% achieving $\ge$50%. Six care homes had outbreaks during the study. Compared to non-pilot care homes, there was no evidence of significant difference in the proportion of homes with outbreaks, or the size of outbreaks. Qualitative data showed difficulty implementing testing strategies due to excessive work burden. Factors influencing adherence related to test integration and procedural factors, socio-economic factors, cognitive overload and the emotional value of testing. CONCLUSION: Implementation of staff and visitor care home LFD testing protocols was poorly adhered to and consequently did not reduce the number or scale of COVID-19 outbreaks. More focus is needed on the contextual and behavioural factors that influence protocol adherence.

COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
Age Ageing ; 50(5): 1442-1444, 2021 09 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1226520


COVID-19 has devastated care homes. Point-of-care tests (POCTs), mainly using lateral flow devices (LFDs), have been deployed hurriedly without much consideration of their usability or impact on care workflow. Even after the pandemic, POCTs, particularly multiplex tests, may be an important control against spread of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory infections in care homes by enabling identification of cases. They should not, however, replace other infection control measures such as barrier methods and quarantine. Adherence to LFDs as implemented among care home staff is suboptimal. Other tests-such as point-of-care polymerase chain reaction and automated antigen tests-would also need to be accommodated into care home workflows to improve adherence. The up-front costs of POCTs are straightforward but additional costs, including staffing preparation and reporting processes and the impacts of false positive and negative tests on absence rates and infection days, are more complex and as yet unquantified. A detailed appraisal is needed as the future of testing in care homes is considered.

COVID-19 , Humans , Pandemics , Point-of-Care Testing , Policy , SARS-CoV-2