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Covid study to examine ‘disproportionate’ impact on care homes

A Scottish study led by a University of Dundee academic is to examine the “disproportionate” effect of Covid-19 on care homes.

Dr. Charis Marwick, an expert in infectious diseases at the University’s School of Medicine, has been awarded £32,000 to examine how specific characteristics of care homes and their residents have influenced the infection rate and death toll since the start of the pandemic.

The project will also examine how hospital admissions and discharges for care home residents altered as the testing policy changed.

“Care homes and their residents have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19, with devastating consequences. It is therefore critical that we identify where improvements could be made to help protect vulnerable care home residents as we learn to live with this illness in the years ahead,” said Dr. Marwick (pictured).

“This study will analyse a wealth of data, examining the relationship between residents, care homes and changes in care throughout the pandemic. By the end we hope the findings will identify risks to care home residents that could be mitigated to protect these people, who are among those most susceptible to this deadly virus,” she added.

Dr Marwick’s study will attempt to identify which care home residents were most adversely affected by the pandemic, and those most likely to contract the disease.

The study will also consider the design of care homes, identifying types of premises that are more susceptible to outbreaks to guide service redesign.

The project will also compare changes in healthcare use between those homes affected by Covid-19 and those fortunate enough not to experience outbreaks, to determine whether alterations in service were a direct consequence of the pandemic or an indirect consequence due to changes in wider healthcare provision during lockdown.

The findings will be made available to local health authorities, allowing them to be translated into practice.

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