INTERNATIONAL REPORTS

Responses to 3.02.01. National or equivalent Covid-19 Long-Term Care care taskforce 


Austria

Several task forces were put in place ‘at federal and regional government level’. They only contained two representatives from the LTC sector (Source: https://journal.ilpnetwork.org/articles/10.31389/jltc.54/).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Germany

No national COVID-19 LTC taskforce was established, as health and social care largely falls under Länder [State] authority. However, the State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Health has in some cases sought a moderating role highlighting topics of importance (Source: https://www.pflegebevollmaechtigter.de/nws-zum-Coronavirus.html). Federal agencies like the Robert Koch Institute have not established LTC-specific taskforces.

Some Länder (e.g. Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg) have established LTC-task forces within their respective Ministries of Health. How these task forces are constituted, and work remains largely unclear.

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Ireland

The Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health chairs the National Public Health Emergency Team that was established in January 2020 in response to COVID-19. The role of the team is to ‘oversee and provide national direction, guidance, support and expert advice on the development and implementation of strategy to contain COVID-19 in Ireland.’ The Health Information and Quality authority that carries responsibility for inspecting nursing homes is part of the team (Source: https://ltccovid.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Ireland-COVID-LTC-report-updated-13-May-2020.pdf).

Last updated: September 9th, 2021


Israel

Following an outbreak in LTCFs in mid-March and a national outcry for increased attention to LTC-specific needs, Israel’s government rolled out a national taskforce and plan entitled “Shield of the Fathers and Mothers” (Magen Avot V’Emahot) in April 2020 (Source: https://govextra.gov.il/ministry-of-health/care-covid19/elderly-care-covid19/). It served as a coordination effort specifically catered to the care and concerns of LTCFs, “to ensure national resilience and protect the elderly populations and the population of people with disabilities staying in out-of-home settings, while providing optimal care in a comprehensive national vision” (Source: https://www.health.gov.il/Subjects/Geriatrics/magen/magen-chapter1.pdf). Among some of the top priorities of this project were: increasing the scope of COVID-19 testing in LTCFs, including in those with no identified COVID-19 patients; upgrading protection measures for both staff and residents of LTCFS, including (dis)infection training; prohibiting LTCF staff members from working in more than one facility; and allowing families to visit only in special instances (and subject to rules of social distancing) (Source: https://journal.ilpnetwork.org/articles/10.31389/jltc.75/).

Last updated: September 9th, 2021


Australia

The federal, state, and territory governments established a COVID-19 health sector response plan but this plan has been criticized for not specifically addressing the aged care sector. There is a need for a national COVID-19 aged care advisory body to establish protocols between the national and state governments (Source: https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-12/aged-care-and-covid-19-a-special-report.pdf; https://ltccovid.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Australia-LTC-COVID19-situation-12-October-2020-1-1.pdf).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Canada (British Columbia)

There was no national taskforce because social care/LTC is governed provincially. British Columbia Ministry of Health set up a Health Emergency Command Centre (HECC) structure with the purpose of bringing people together and assisted with communication, but HECC decision making was not well integrated into provincial decision-making and accountability frameworks. The power of HECC was not clearly defined, which led to uncertainties around who should be making key decisions and how to use funds (Source: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/1.25.2021_LTC_COVID-19_Response_Review.pdf).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Chile

The Ministry of Health (MoH), the National Service of Older People (Servicio Nacional del Adulto Mayor, SENAMA), the Chilean Geriatrics and Gerontology Society (GGS), and the main non-profit organizations started a working group to coordinate the implementation of prevention and control measures (Source: https://ltccovid.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/The-COVID-19-Long-Term-Care-situation-in-Chile-24-July-2020-3.pdf).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Denmark

There is no task force specifically identified for LTC, but there is a Danish COVID-19 Taskforce referred to as the COVID-19 Intensive Task Force (Source: https://www.covid19healthsystem.org/countries/denmark/livinghit.aspx?Section=5.%20Governance&Type=Chapter).

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


England (UK)

On June 8, 2020, the Government announced the creation of a social care sector COVID-19 taskforce in order to ensure concerted action to implement key measures taken to date (Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/social-care-sector-covid-19-support-taskforce). In particular, the taskforce was intended to support the delivery of the Government’s social care action plan, published on April 15, 2020 (Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/national-action-plan-to-further-support-adult-social-care-sector), and its home care support package (Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-care-homes/coronavirus-covid-19-care-home-support-package). The taskforce, which included representatives from across government and the care sector, was intended to ‘support the national campaign to end transmission in the community, and it will also consider the impact of COVID-19 on the sector over the next year and advise on a plan to support it through this period’. The Taskforce published its report in late September 2020, identifying a total of 52 recommendations across a range of domains including PPE, testing, workforce, and controlling infection in different settings. The learning disabilities and autistic people advisory group to this taskforce published 5 key recommendations, which the co-chairs of the advisory group have stated were not reflected in the taskforce report as a whole. These were: accessible guidance and communications, restoring and maintaining vital support services, expanding PPE and testing, tackling isolation and loneliness, and seeking and supporting people who may be in crisis.

Last updated: September 9th, 2021


Finland

While it’s difficult to determine a formal Finnish taskforce for social care during the pandemic, it’s clear that the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) worked closely to decide certain policies (e.g. regarding LTC home visitation and self-isolation of older people). On May 4, 2020, the government announced a plan to move to a hybrid strategy, ‘test, trace, isolate and treat’. One of the main aims was to protect the elderly and high-risk groups. Their guidelines/press releases are published regularly online.

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


France

A national Covid-19 social care task force was set up under the Direction Generale de la Cohesion Sociale [Social Cohesion Unit] (DGCS), announced on March 30, 2020. To prepare for the second wave, the DGCS crisis cell reactivated its ‘open crisis cell’, to function in parallel to that held by the Health Ministry (Source: https://solidarites-sante.gouv.fr/soins-et-maladies/maladies/maladies-infectieuses/coronavirus/professionnels-du-social-et-medico-social/article/une-cellule-de-crise-de-la-covid-19-par-la-dgcs). All guidance and information pertinent to older people and people with disabilities and published by DGCS is available online.

Last updated: September 8th, 2021


Israel

Following an outbreak in LTCFs in mid-March and a national call for a taskforce on LTC-specific needs, Israel rolled out a national plan entitled “Shield of Fathers and Mothers” (Magen Avot V’Emahot) in April 2020 (Source: https://govextra.gov.il/ministry-of-health/care-covid19/elderly-care-covid19/). It served as a coordination effort specifically catered to the care and concerns of LTCFs, “to ensure national resilience and protect the elderly populations and the population of people with disabilities staying in out-of-home settings, while providing optimal care in a comprehensive national vision” (Source: https://www.health.gov.il/Subjects/Geriatrics/magen/magen-chapter1.pdf). Among some of the top priorities of this project were: the training of LTCF staff in protection against COVID-19 infection and to provide assistance in disinfection; increasing the scope of COVID-19 testing in LTCFs, including in those with no identified COVID-19 patients; and managing the social distance of patients to mitigate loneliness.

Last updated: September 9th, 2021


Japan

A national taskforce (Advisory Committee on the Basic Action Policy on Coronavirus) was established, including experts from the Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare (that oversees long term care) (Source: https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20200703123239310). However, it’s not clear to what extent the taskforce focused on long-term care.

Last updated: September 9th, 2021


Sweden

A published report indicates that the that NBHW (National Board of Health and Welfare) has gradually been assigned new tasks and roles that are handled by a special group that support the regions and municipalities in their work with COVID-19.

Last updated: September 9th, 2021


United States

Both President Trump and President Biden crafted national COVID-19 taskforces, with experts from varying backgrounds. President Biden’s new taskforce explicitly prioritizes the need to “protect older Americans and others at high-risk.” While this has not resulted in an explicit federal social care taskforce, the President’s program has responded to this need by introducing a COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force to address major inequities which have come to particular light within the LTC sector (Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/priorities/covid-19/).

Last updated: September 9th, 2021