Public Health Scotland (PHS) has today published a report on discharges from NHS hospitals to care homes in Scotland.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman commissioned the report in August to identify and report on discharges from hospitals to care homes during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report found the strongest association with outbreaks of COVID-19 was care home size, even when taking account of hospital discharges and other factors such as care home type, in line with findings observed by Public Health Wales in a similar report.
PHS found that while hospital discharge is associated with an increased risk of an outbreak when considered on its own, the estimated risk of an outbreak was reduced and not statistically significant after accounting for care home size and other care home features.
Of the care homes with more than 90 residents, 90.2% had an outbreak, compared to just 3.7% of homes with fewer than 20 residents.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“This is the biggest public health crisis we have faced in our lifetimes and the impact on care homes around the world has been profound. Every life lost to the virus is a tragedy and a loss that will be deeply grieved by their loved ones.
“I commissioned this report because it is right that residents, families, staff, and Parliament, have accurate data and independent analysis on the transfer of patients to care homes and the impact that had in those care homes.
“Care home staff have a critical frontline role and I want to pay tribute to all staff involved for their compassionate and skilled work to overcome the many challenges presented by this pandemic.
“The data from this report gives us a better understanding of the impact of discharges on outbreaks in care homes. We will be taking forward the recommendations that PHS make in their report, and we will continue to adapt our guidance and the steps we are taking to protect care home staff and residents in line with the latest data, scientific evidence and clinical advice.
“Keeping COVID under control requires a continued collective effort and we only succeed if we all play our part. That is why I ask again that everyone across Scotland abides by the current restrictions. Please do the right thing and help to keep our country safe.”