Isolation and distancing measures in Dutch nursing homes; the COVID-19 MINUTES study

Presenter: Lisa Van Tol (Leiden University Medical Center)

Abstract for the International workshop on COVID-19 and Long-Term Care systems: What have we learnt and what policies do we need to strengthen LTC systems?, 6 and 7th December 2021

Watch the presentation (see 33:55):

Lisa Van Tol: LTC-COVID International Workshop 6 – 7 December 2021


Introduction: The most severe COVID-19 infections and highest mortality rates are seen among long-term care (LTC) residents. To stop the spread of COVID-19 infections, isolation and distancing measures (IDM) were imposed. This study investigates what IDM were organized in nursing homes to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections among residents, if changes were made over time, and what challenges were encountered.  
Methods: The COVID-19 MINUTES study is a large multi-center study with a qualitative design. From April 2020 until October 2021, minutes and other meeting documents of central COVID-19 Outbreak Teams (OT) in Dutch LTC organizations (n=41) were collected. Text units regarding IDM were selected and analyzed using manifest content analysis. Proportions of text units about the different IDM were computed with descriptive statistics.

Results: OT discussed various types of IDM. During the first wave, the most often discussed IDM were isolation at COVID-19 units, visitor policies, admission restrictions, and building entry policies. During the second wave, this focus remained on visitor policies, but also was on distancing residents among themselves. 

Conclusions: Over time, due to fluctuating infection rates and new insights, shifts were seen in OT discussions about IDM. The lessons learned from this study may inform (inter)national and policy makers for future COVID-19 and other infectious disease outbreaks.

List of authors:
Lisa S. van Tol MSc.¹, Hanneke J.A. Smaling PhD¹, Wendy Meester MSc.¹, prof. Sytse U. Zuidema MD PhD², Margot W.M. de Waal PhD¹, Monique A.A. Caljouw PhD¹, prof. Wilco P. Achterberg, MD PhD¹, 
Affiliations1Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands. 2Department of General Practice & Elderly Care Medicine, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands 

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