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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