Scottish care homes are vulnerable to the widespread transmission of COVID-19 and poor outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately high fatality rates among older adults, particularly those with comorbidities.
Care homes provide health and care services for approximately 40,000 residents, of which the majority are elders with complex medical and care needs.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the care homes within Lanarkshire, similar to other local authorities. While there is a plethora of research focusing on the spread of COVID-19 in the general population, research on the unique transmission dynamics and interventions for COVID-19 in care homes is negligible.
Infection control interventions in care homes need to be both effective in containing the spread of COVID-19 and also feasible to implement in this setting which has a dual nature: a healthcare institution and a home.
This research aim to:
- evaluate the effectiveness of a range of interventions strategies in controlling COVID-19 in care homes
- investigate the impact of staff sharing between care homes in Lanarkshire on the inter-facility transmission of COVID-19
- answer emerging questions for care home stakeholders from Lanarkshire
To address the first objective, we adopt agent-based modelling to simulate the transmission dynamics of COVID-19 via contacts between individuals, including residents, staff members, and visitors in a care home setting.
To address the second objective, we developed a hybrid system of dynamics and agent-based modelling that represents the network of care homes in Lanarkshire. We interviewed care home stakeholders including managers and staff in different roles, and had regular discussions with representatives from the Health and Social Care Partnerships and Public Health in Lanarkshire to scope the problem, build the model, and design the intervention strategies.