new report available

Nursing homes: “the pressure is high but we are in control”

The pressure from COVID-19 in nursing homes is high. This is mainly due to absenteeism and perceived work pressure. At the same time, almost all nursing home locations say they are 'in control'. In most cases, nursing homes manage to avoid a site visiting ban. However, other restrictions (such as the number of visitors or an adjustment of visiting times) are often involved in order to protect residents and staff against contamination. This is the result of a study by Maastricht University (UM) and Radboudumc in Nijmegen earlier this month among Dutch nursing homes.

Since the extension of the visiting ban last June, 78 nursing home locations in the Netherlands have been monitored in a study by the Living Labs in Ageing & Long-Term Care, run by UM and Radboud university medical center. In the new measurement (from 3 – 17 December 2021), nursing homes were asked about the status of infections and (booster) vaccinations, measures taken in case of infection, impact of Covid-19 on daily life in nursing homes, perceived pressure in nursing homes and experienced support.

Despite the high number of infections, most nursing homes (9 in 10) have managed to avoid a site visit ban. Nursing homes try to provide as much customization as possible and that depends on the context. A number of nursing homes also say they have built up a lot of routine in preventing and dealing with COVID-19 infections.

If there are no infections, a substantial group of nursing homes still work with a (partial) visiting ban and restrictions. A quarter of the nursing homes have stricter visiting rules for the nursing home than the rules that currently apply to citizens at home. There are also nursing homes that use visiting hours, homes that (temporarily) do not allow children and homes that do not allow residents without infection to leave the nursing home for family visits.

The booster campaign is in full swing in most nursing homes; it is estimated that 3 out of 4 residents have received a booster. Nursing homes say they experience little support from government and society. It seems to be mainly about attention and appreciation. All attention is focused on the hospital, while daily life in the nursing home is still under great pressure.