Study finds no evidence that visitors to care homes introduced COVID-19 infections

A new ‘rapid review’ of evidence on impacts of visiting policies in care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic has found ‘no scientific evidence’ that visitors to care homes introduced COVID-19 infections.

The study is currently in its pre-print stage, meaning the findings have yet to be peer reviewed, however the authors warn that “concern is increasing about the negative impact of [care home visitor] restrictions on the health and wellbeing of care home residents and their families.”

The rapid review, which was a collaboration by academics from international institutions – including London School of Economics and Political Science, University of British Columbia, University of Sydney, and others – also suggested that “visiting restrictions may have resulted in reductions in quality of care or additional tasks for care home staff.”

The review also warned that “there is increasing evidence that care home residents experienced greater depression and loneliness and demonstrated more behavioural disturbance during the period that included visitor bans.”

Cllr Christine Stuart, Kingston Council, said on Twitter that the review “helps to evidence the need for mental wellbeing for both residents and families during lockdowns.”

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