Well-being of nursing home residents does not appear to be affected by lockdown


The closure of the nursing homes this spring has had no negative consequences for the mood, cognition and daily functioning of the residents. For example, residents did not experience more depressive feelings or anxiety during the lockdown than a comparable group of residents in the same period a year earlier. The number of conflicts in the wards and the amount of prescribed calming medication turned out to be even lower than a year earlier.
This is shown by research by Amsterdam UMC. The results were recently presented at an international webinar.

Collected continuously

Researchers Milou Angevaare and Hein van Hout of Amsterdam UMC analyzed data from more than thirty nursing homes throughout the country. They made use of recorded observations of residents by care personnel. This data is continuously collected and therefore lends itself well to investigating the consequences of the corona closure on the residents. In the period (March-May 2020) a physical visit to the nursing homes was not possible. Residents could also not leave the grounds of the nursing homes.

Health and medication use

The researchers looked at the health and medication use of nursing home residents during the corona shutdown.
They compared these data with data from a comparable group of residents a year earlier.

More social interaction

The media has often reported negatively about the closure of nursing homes in recent months. Residents were expected to suffer a lot from this closure. This investigation found no evidence of this. Residents did not experience more fear or loneliness than a comparable group of residents in the same period a year earlier.

This was true for both people with and without cognitive problems. The residents also interacted more with their loved ones on average. More often they used (video) calling and email to keep in touch with family and friends. A comparable Canadian study also found no negative effects on the well-being of nursing home residents. Van Hout: “A possible explanation is that other forms of contact compensated for the visiting ban”.

Do not downplay corona impact

So no evidence was found for negative consequences on well-being during the lockdown. A reduction in the number of conflicts and the prescribed calming medication rather gives a positive picture. Van Hout: “Care workers indicated that they experienced more peace in the department during the closure. There were fewer staff changes and they had to divide their attention less between family and residents. This may explain why fewer conflicts were observed. ”
These insights may offer opportunities to promote the well-being of nursing home residents in the future. Angevaare: “Despite this positive image, we do not want to downplay the impact of corona in nursing homes. The results of this study do not exclude the possibility that some of the residents and their loved ones had negative consequences. The high number of infections and high mortality rates in nursing homes are also very worrying. ”

Source: Amsterdam UMC

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