The possibility of a coronavirus outbreak in a care home triples with every additional 20 beds it has, a study of 189 infected care homes by NHS Lothian and Edinburgh University has revealed.
In the study, researchers looked at infection patterns in 189 nursing homes where more than 400 people died from coronavirus.
In homes with fewer than 20 residents, the prospect of an epidemic was 5%, however, in homes with 60 to 80 residents, the probability increased from 83% to 100%. The study is considered to be the broadest analysis to date of home test results for coronaviruses in the UK.
The large influx of staff, including agency workers, cooks and maintenance engineers, entering and leaving larger homes, is considered a key factor in infecting older residents.
The study led to calls on operators to establish infection control “bubbles” in large facilities before the emergence of a second wave, but the ministers were warned that it would be expensive.
“More frequentation will put you at higher risk of infection,” said the author of the report, Professor Bruce Guthrie, director of the Advanced Care Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh and associate researcher at Health Data Research UK. “Although the size of nursing homes cannot be changed without losing space for existing residents, there may be potential for the creation of separate units in nursing homes where fewer staff and residents are effectively cohorted to create autonomous units. ”
“There is a considerable risk of further outbreaks with large numbers of deaths in nursing homes if the incidence of Covid-19 in the community increases again,” said Guthrie.
Katie Dee, Deputy Director of Public Health and Health Policy at NHS Lothian, said, “It is important to analyze risk factors for Covid-19 infection in nursing homes to prevent future outbreaks . ”