COVID-19: People in care facilities need to be protected

Danger from COVID-19 for people in long-term care facilities

Older people are particularly at risk from the current COVID-19 pandemic. Protective measures for older people in long-term care facilities and their carers are therefore urgently required.

A recent study by the University of Ottawa in Canada shows how important it is to protect older people effectively from the coronavirus in long-term care facilities. Such protective measures are also necessary to prevent the health system from being overloaded by severe COVID-19 cases. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Journal of Aging & Social Policy".

Older people in long-term care facilities are increasingly at risk

Elderly people in long-term care facilities are at high risk of dying from the effects of COVID-19. The risk of transmission of the virus in such facilities is particularly high.

Stress could overwhelm hospitals

If COVID-19 occurs in a long-term care facility, this could lead to a resulting increase in the number of cases overwhelming local hospital capacities, the researchers warn. However, many local hospitals are already under heavy stress due to an influx of people with the coronavirus during the current pandemic.

Long-term care facility precautions

In response to the pandemic, many long-term care facilities have already introduced strict access and visit restrictions to protect people living there from infections. However, blocking long-term care facilities, possibly even for several months, gives rise to further concerns.

Problems due to the closure of long-term care facilities

A lack of visits from family and friends will increase the isolation of older people in long-term care facilities. Unfortunately, the isolation will also increase their susceptibility to abuse and neglect, the researchers explain. In the wake of the corona virus pandemic, many older people could be neglected or even completely abandoned.

How can older people be protected?

The research group therefore emphasized the urgent need for new measures to protect older residents of long-term facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is recommended that long-term care facilities be given priority treatment in COVID-19 tests and protective equipment. In addition, guidelines should be developed to ensure that long-term care facilities continue to be adequately staffed and that infection control protocols are followed closely.

Monitoring long-term care facilities must be a priority

Monitoring the long-term care facilities during the pandemic should also remain a priority, so that the people living and working there are adequately protected, the researchers emphasize.

How does contagion affect the general population?

The risk of infection for people in long-term care is lower, the less people in the general population become infected. In addition, the following applies: the fewer people in the general population are admitted to hospitals, the more capacities are available for people in long-term care.

We all have to work to minimize disease transmission

The question is, what can we do to help protect these vulnerable groups in long-term care facilities? It is crucial to minimize the transmission of the disease by following all of the health authorities' instructions on hygiene measures and social distance, the researchers explain. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • William Gardner, PhD, David States, MD, PhD, Nicholas Bagley, JD et al .: The Coronavirus and the Risks to the Elderly in Long-Term Care, in Journal of Aging & Social Policy (Published April 3, 2020), Journal of Aging & Social Policy

Video: How COVID-19 is impacting Illinois long-term care facilities (January 2022).