Housing with care residents ‘had lower than average Covid death rates’
A research project into the response to the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed how retirement village and extra care housing operators helped to protect the lives of residents and staff.
The RE-COV study - led by St Monica Trust, funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust and supported by Housing LIN – found a lower than expected proportion of participants’ residents died from Covid in comparison to people with the same age profile living in the general population in England.
“0.97 per cent of retirement village and housing scheme residents died from confirmed Covid-19 from March to December 2020,” said St Monica Trust Covid national research project lead Rachael Dutton.
“This was less than the 1.09 per cent of people with the same age profiles who died from Covid-19 living in the general population in England and residents of retirement village-only operators also had the lowest Covid death rate of 0.51 per cent,” she added.
Operators felt the most effective factors in protecting residents during the pandemic included closing communal facilities, suspending activities or restricting residents’ access to areas; PPE; restricting facilities to visitors and family when necessary; regular and increased cleaning; the design and external and internal layout of schemes; and the self-contained nature of individual apartments.
The study also found positive outcomes for residents included high levels of feeling safe, supported and comforted, knowing other people were around, plus enjoyment from organised outdoor activities.
“In order to keep their residents physically, mentally and emotionally well, operators and staff demonstrated great commitment, ingenuity and resourcefulness,” said Dutton.
“Such activities and support would have helped to alleviate some of the negative effects of the pandemic, which older people in the general community were also experiencing, such as loneliness, worry and boredom,” she added.
The report also noted the financially damaging impact of the pandemic for housing with care operators, with many of the additional costs and losses still ongoing.
The estimated overall losses up to February for the group of 38 operators who participated in the study was £12.5m.