The impact of COVID-19 vaccinations in Dutch nursing homes: Back to normal?

Presenter: Ramona Backhaus (Radboud University Medical Center, the Netherlands)

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

Abstract:

In the Netherlands, as in many other countries, nursing home residents and staff were among the first to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The first residents were vaccinated on January 18, 2021. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of these vaccinations on daily life and family visitation in 59 Dutch nursing homes. Data were collected in March and April 2021 by means of questionnaires. The study showed that vaccination levels among residents are high and that they vary between nursing homes. Staff vaccination levels were lower and could only be estimated. Although over 70% of nursing homes reported that their protective measures and policies regarding visitors had been adjusted after vaccinations, often, many rules still were in place. For example, residents were not allowed to hug visitors or visitors were not allowed to stay for dinner. Activities within the nursing home seemed to normalize. For example, nursing home residents were allowed to interact with each other. The number of volunteers often still was lower than before the pandemic. Most nursing homes did not have concrete plans or protocols on how to further ease the protective measures and policies. In the absence of national plans and protocols on how to ‘normalize’, tailor-made, local policies seem necessary to ‘normalize’ and to deliver person-centered care in nursing homes.

Co-authors:

Ramona Backhaus PhD a,b, Judith H.J. Urlings PhD a,b, Hilde Verbeek PhD a,b, Bram S. de Boer PhD a,b, Debby L. Gerritsen PhD c, Raymond T.C.M. Koopmans PhD MD c, Jan P.H. Hamers PhD a,b

Department of Health Services Research, Care and Public Health Research Institute, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands

Living Lab in Ageing and Long-Term Care, Maastricht, the Netherlands

Department of Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

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