Nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic: a scoping review of challenges and responses

European geriatric medicine

Eur Geriatr Med. 2021 Dec;12(6):1127-1136. doi: 10.1007/s41999-021-00531-2. Epub 2021 Jun 16.


INTRODUCTION: COVID-19 has caused unprecedented challenges in nursing homes. In this scoping review, we aimed to describe factors that contributed to the spread and mortality of COVID-19 in nursing homes and provide an overview of responses that were implemented to try to overcome such challenges.

METHODS: The MeSH terms "Nursing homes" and "COVID-19" were searched in MEDLINE Ovid, and English language articles were retrieved that were published between 1 March 2020 and 31 January 2021. Article titles and abstracts were screened by two reviewers, and the results of included articles were grouped by themes.

RESULTS: The search retrieved 348 articles, of which 76 were included in the thematic review. 8 articles related to COVID-19 disease characteristics (e.g. asymptomatic transmission), 24 to resident-related factors (e.g. comorbidities, nutrition, cognition), 13 to facility characteristics (e.g. physical space, occupancy, for-profit status), 21 to staffing (e.g. staffing levels, staff-to-resident ratio, staff multi-employment), and 10 to external factors (e.g. availability of personal protective equipment, prevailing health and social care policies). In terms of responses, identified themes included widespread testing, isolation and cohorting of residents, staff protection and support, promotion of residents' well-being, and technological innovations.

CONCLUSION: COVID-19 exerted severe challenges on the nursing home population and its staff. Both internal and external factors predisposed nursing homes to an increased propensity of spread. Numerous strategies were employed to attempt to mitigate the negative impacts. Substantial learning occurred that may not only aid future pandemic preparedness but improve quality of care for nursing home residents at all times.

PMID:34136990 | PMC:PMC8208072 | DOI:10.1007/s41999-021-00531-2


Shamik Giri
Lee Minn Chenn
Roman Romero-Ortuno