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Context: During COVID-19 care-homes had to implement strict Infection Control Measures (ICMs), impacting on care and staff morale.

Objectives: To explore the lived experiences of care-home staff in implementing ICMs.

Methods: Mixed-methods study comprising 238 online survey responses and 15 in-depth interviews with care-home staff, November 2020-January 2021 in England.

Results: Three themes were identified: ‘Integrating COVID-19 ICMs with caring’, ‘Conveying knowledge and information’, ‘Professional and personal impacts of care-work during the pandemic’. Reported adherence to ICMs was high but fatalistic attitudes towards COVID-19 infection were present. Challenges of providing care using personal protective equipment (PPE), especially for residents with dementia, were highlighted. Interviewees reported dilemmas between strictly implementing ICMs and conflicts with providing best care to residents and preserving personal space. Nine months into COVID-19, official guidance was reported as confusing, constantly changing and poorly suited to care-homes. Care-home staff appreciated opportunities to work with other care-homes and experts to interpret and implement guidance. ICM training was undertaken using multiple techniques but with little evaluation of these or how to sustain behaviour change.

Limitations: Results may not be generalizable to other countries. Implications COVID-19 has had a profound effect on well-being of care-home staff. Despite challenges, participants reported broadly good morale, potentially a consequence of supportive colleagues and management. Nevertheless, clear, concise and care-home focussed ICM guidance is still needed. This should include evidence-based assessments on implementing and sustaining adherence. Groups of care-home staff and ICM experts working together to co-create, interpret and implement guidance were viewed positively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-400
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Long-Term Care
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2021


  • COVID-19
  • care-home
  • infection control
  • personal protective equipment
  • qualitative
  • survey

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