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Registered care home managers’ experiences of responding to the national care home visiting guidance in England during the Covid-19 pandemic; a multi-method qualitative study

Dixon, Josie ORCID: 0000-0003-4772-6450, Lorenz-Dant, Klara, Stubbs, Edmund ORCID: 0000-0003-1464-8361, Harrison Dening, Karen, Mostaghim, Manna and Casson, Daniel (2023) Registered care home managers’ experiences of responding to the national care home visiting guidance in England during the Covid-19 pandemic; a multi-method qualitative study. BMC Geriatrics, 23 (1). ISSN 1471-2318

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Identification Number: 10.1186/s12877-023-03935-w


Background: Visiting restrictions in care homes in England and many comparable countries during the Covid-19 pandemic were extensive and prolonged. We examined how care home managers experienced, understood and responded to the national care home visiting guidance in England in developing their visiting policies. Methods: A diverse sample of 121 care home managers across England, recruited through varied sources including the NIHR ENRICH network of care homes, completed a 10-item qualitative survey. Follow-up, in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with a purposive sub-sample of 40 managers. Data were analysed thematically using Framework, a theoretically and methodologically flexible tool for data analysis in multiple researcher teams. Findings: Some viewed the national guidance positively; as supporting the restrictive measures they felt necessary to protect residents and staff from infection, or as setting a broad policy framework while allowing local discretion. More commonly, however, managers experienced challenges. These included the guidance being issued late; the initial document and frequent, media-led updates not being user-friendly; important gaps, particularly in relation to dementia and the risks and harms associated with restrictions; guidance being unhelpfully open to interpretation while restrictive interpretations by regulators limited apparent scope for discretion; fragmented systems of local governance and poor central-local coordination; inconsistent access and quality of support from local regulators wider sources of information, advice and support that, while often valued, were experienced as uncoordinated, duplicative and sometimes confusing; and insufficient account taken of workforce challenges. Conclusions: Underlying many of the challenges experienced were structural issues, for which there have been longstanding calls for investment and strategic reform. For increasing sector resilience, these should be are urgently addressed. Future guidance would also be significantly strengthened by gathering better data, supporting well-facilitated peer exchange, engaging the sector more fully and dynamically in policy-making and learning from care home managers’ and staff’s experiences, particularly of assessing, managing and mitigating the wider risks and harms associated with visiting restrictions.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023, The Author(s).
Divisions: Personal Social Services Research Unit
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine
H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 04 May 2023 23:18
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2024 22:39

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