Emerging evidence: The impact of COVID-19 measures on well-being of older long-term care facility residents in the Netherlands (JAMDA)

Full article link and citation:

Van der Roest HG, Prins M, van der Velden C, Steinmetz S, Stolte E, van
Tilburg TG, de Vries DH, The impact of COVID-19 measures on well-being of older long-term care
facility residents in the Netherlands, Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (2020), doi:


Survey conducted among 193 residents, 1,609 relatives and 811 staff members in care homes in the Netherlands between the 30th April and 27th May 2020, six to 10 weeks after a visitor ban in all care homes was implemented.

The study measured loneliness, mood and behavioural problems in residents, and found:

  • 77% of residents reported loneliness, staff classified residents without cognitive impairment as more lonely than those with cognitive impairment
  • Relatives who had spoken with residents in the four weeks prior to the assessment reported on mood symptoms: increased frequency of sadness (63%), increases in restlessness (56%) and decreased frequency of happiness (60%)
  • Over half of the staff reported increases in severity of agitation, depression, anxiety and irritability, and that severity of problem behaviours increased in severity (the largest differences were for appetite disorders, depression and anxiety). Increased severity was reported more often by staff of non-pyschogeriatric units (compared to psychogeriatric units).

The authors conclude that the wellbeing of older care home residents was severely affected during the COVID-19 measures, including visitor bans six to ten weeks before this study took place. They found high levels of loneliness and depression and worsening in mood in behavioural problems, which affected more residents without cognitive impairment.

The authors also point to this pilot study in the Netherlands that shows that opening care homes to visitors using careful guidelines did not lead to new infections:


The pilot study on re-opening care homes to visitor was presented in this webinar (video and slides available):

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