Country report: The COVID-19 Long-Term Care situation in Brazil

By Fabiana da Mata and Deborah Oliveira

6th May 2020

A new report on the situation in Brazil for people who use and provide long-term care.

The Brazilian LTC system is fragmented between social and health care, and between public and private/insurance sectors. The large geographical area, complex political situation, high levels of socioeconomic inequality, as well as other factors contribute to a slow response to protect vulnerable groups in Brazil.

On 27 January Brazil had its first suspect case and on 26 February the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Up to 27 April 2020, there were 61,888 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,205 deaths nationally. The numbers of cases and deaths continue to grow nationally and all the states having confirmed cases. We do not know how many victims are care home residents, disabled people, or from another vulnerable group. However, a few actions have been taken locally and nationally to contain the spread of the virus to these individuals and to provide information for unpaid carers and LTC professionals.

Key messages in this report include:

·       The COVID-19 pandemic is on its ascending period in Brazil and mortality rates have risen exponentially;

·       Several initiatives have been implemented and recommendations have been published by the public sector to support unpaid carers, older and disable people, and LTC professionals with regards to ways to protect from the infection;

·       There is a paucity of specific population data in relation to the pandemic (e.g. infection and mortality rates in people living in care homes vs. living at home) and most actions so far have been taken by the public health sectors;

·       It is unclear the extent to which private care sectors (e.g. private care homes, health insurances) have been following national and international guidance;

·       Unpaid carers, vulnerable populations, and LTC workers have been mostly unassisted financially and with the necessary equipment to face the pandemic;

·       There is a lack of evidence on how older and disable groups living together with several other family members in vulnerable communities (such as “favelas”) are doing to prevent and treat respiratory infections;

·       It appears that most of the actions so far have been done remotely or digitally, and there is a lack of information with regards to the extent to which such actions have reached out to those who do not have access to online information;

·       Brazil has a large proportion of the population who is illiterate or semi-illiterate and it is unclear the extent to which the preventative measures and recommendations implemented/published so far have taken into account individual literacy and health literacy levels.

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