Care homes are doing their best to stay open as much as possible


A complete closure, never again: that was the general sentiment in care homes after the lockdown in March. The measure had much too negative an effect on inhabitants, their loved ones and employees. Some described it as ‘inhuman’. Now that the second wave is in full swing, the collaborative academic elderly care work places (Samenwerkende Academische Werkplaatsen Ouderenzorg), which includes AWO Zuid-Limburg, asked 76 care homes whether they still allow people to visit. And if they do, how do they keep it up. 

After a relatively quiet summer, infections have meanwhile been detected in 25 per cent of the homes that were checked. In some cases, care homes close their doors to visitors completely, but the majority tries to find another solution. For example, by just closing the ward where the infection was detected, or by allowing residents (in collaboration with family) to choose for themselves whether they want visitors or not.

These organisations would prefer to provide tailor-made solutions, looking at each individual case to come up with the best approach. People still see the positive effects of the visits. Residents have a more active attitude and are in a more positive mood compared to last spring.

Even in homes without any infections, COVID-19 has still had its repercussions for daily life. One in five loved ones visits less frequently than before the pandemic, and some of the volunteers have not returned either. The latter contributes to the work pressure, which in many places has remained unrelentingly high. The ever-changing rules, the fear of infection, and high absence rates through illness also play a role. In addition, 19 per cent of the locations say they don’t have sufficient protective gear for a second wave and one third has insufficient testing capacity for employees.

Care homes are doing their best to stay open as much as possible