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Identifying approaches, barriers and facilitators to visiting in care homes during COVID-19

Project status
Prof Claire Surr
Host institution
Leeds Beckett University
Team members
Prof Claire Surr, Prof Anne-marie Bagnall, Dr Sarah Smith, Dr Rachael Kelley, Dr Alys Griffiths, Dr Liz Jones, Rebecca Platt, Olivia Robinson, Jo Crossland, Dr Graham Stokes, Caroline Baker, Dr Reena Devi, Dr Sahdia Parveen
Funding information (if funded)
Internally funded by Leeds Beckett University
Project Summary

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, most care homes have stopped face-to-face visiting. In many care homes contact between residents with dementia and their families are limited to telephone, digital methods or through windows. Other homes have created COVID safe spaces where families can visit from behind a Perspex screen or at a social distance in gardens. Government guidance on visiting has changed numerous times over the pandemic, varies according to national and regional lock-down guidelines and is open to wide interpretation in the sector. Most of these approaches can be extremely difficult for people with dementia to engage with (due to not understanding why they cannot touch/hug their relative, why they are behind a screen etc) and gain comfort from. They may cause more distress than well-being for some residents and may be impossible for those with advanced dementia to take part in.

This topic is being discussed and debated widely in the news on a daily basis and evidence-based information and resources to support development of good-practice approaches in this area is required rapidly.

Our research aims to explore current visiting practices for relatives of care home residents with dementia across England, best practice approaches and barriers and facilitators to these.

Our study will involve

  • Rapid literature and practice review (via databases, social media, grey literature, on-line sources, media) of the evidence in this area and to develop a taxonomy of visiting practices related to relatives/friends of care home residents with dementia, pros and cons of these and barriers and facilitators to adopting them
  • National on-line surveys of relatives/friends of people with dementia living in care homes and care home providers in England – to identify how widely different approaches to visiting are being employed, their impact, reasons for use and barriers and facilitators to offering the least restrictive approaches to visiting.
  • In-depth telephone/video interviews with around 10 relatives and 10 care home managers/senior staff in England – to identify good practice (least restrictive approaches to visiting) and how these might be implemented more widely e.g. what needs to be in place
Outputs / Expected Outputs

Rapid review publication including taxonomy of relative/friends visiting, report/publications on the survey and interview findings and recommendations around the setting conditions and supports needed to enable care homes to adopt the least restrictive approaches to visiting by relatives/friends/supporters of people with dementia. We will produce lay summaries and visual (e.g. infographic) representations of our findings to ensure they are accessible to care home staff and relatives/friends of care home residents.

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Identifying approaches, barriers and facilitators to visiting in care homes during COVID-19