Covid study to examine “disproportionate” impact on care homes


A SCOTTISH academic has been awarded £32,000 to fund a new study looking into the “disproportionate” effect of Covid-19 on care homes.

The new study will look into specific characteristics of care homes and their residents and how this has influenced the infection rate and death toll within the homes.

The project will also examine how hospital admissions and discharges for care home residents altered as the testing policy changed.

Dr Charis Marwick an expert in infection diseases at the University of Dundee was awarded the funding from the Universities own Coronavirus Research Fundraising Campaign.

Dr Charis Marwick, an expert in infectious diseases at the University’s School of Medicine - Coronavirus News Scotland
(Photo Courtney of the University of Dundee’s School of Medicine – Lynne Ross) Dr Charis Marwick, an expert in infectious diseases at the University’s School of Medicine

The study will attempt to identify which care home residents were most adversely affected by the pandemic, and those most likely to contract the disease.

The study will also consider the design of care homes, identifying types of premises that are more susceptible to outbreaks to guide service redesign.

The project will also compare changes in healthcare use between those homes affected by Covid-19 and those fortunate enough not to experience outbreaks, to determine whether alterations in service were a direct consequence of the pandemic or an indirect consequence due to changes in wider healthcare provision during lockdown.

The findings will be made available to local health authorities, allowing them to be translated into practice.

Dr Marwick, has claimed that understanding how different care homes and their residents have been affected by Covid-19 could save lives as the world adapts to living with the virus.

Dr Marwick said: “Care homes and their residents have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19, with devastating consequences,”

“It is therefore critical that we identify where improvements could be made to help protect vulnerable care home residents as we learn to live with this illness in the years ahead.

“This study will analyse a wealth of data, examining the relationship between residents, care homes and changes in care throughout the pandemic.

“By the end we hope the findings will identify risks to care home residents that could be mitigated to protect these people, who are among those most susceptible to this deadly virus.”

Scottish care homes were advised to close doors to visitors at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. However, several significant outbreaks have occurred, with the virus believed to have claimed hundreds of residents’ lives.

While almost every care home resident in Scotland has since been vaccinated and infection rates are dropping dramatically, no vaccine is 100% effective and establishing how to protect those still at risk remains imperative.