Housing with care safeguarded lives during COVID pandemic, research finds


A ground breaking research project has revealed how housing with care safeguarded the lives of residents and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The RE-COV study, which was led by the St Monica Trust, funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust and supported by the Housing LIN, showed retirement village and extra care housing schemes in England were successful in protecting and supporting their residents during the pandemic.

This was seen in the lower than expected proportion of survey participants’ residents who died from COVID-19 in comparison to people with the same age profile living in the general population in England as well as the positive effects of the lengths that operators and staff took to help support residents’ activities of daily living, social engagement, community and personal activities.

Rachael Dutton, St Monica Trust’s COVID National Research Project Lead, said: “0.97% of retirement village and housing scheme residents died from confirmed COVID-19 from March to December 2020, which was less than the 1.09% of people with the same age profiles who died from COVID-19 living in the general population in England.

“Given the generally higher levels of health, care and support needs of extra care housing residents this is a very positive outcome. The residents of retirement village only operators also had the lowest COVID-19 death rate of 0.51%.”

The report lists the measures that operators felt were most effective in protecting their residents and staff. These included:

closing communal facilities, suspending activities or restricting residents’ access to areas;

the issuing of full Personal Protective Equipment and its correct use;

restricting and closing retirement villages and extra care housing to visitors and family when necessary;

regular and increased cleaning; and

the design and external and internal layout of schemes, plus the self-contained nature of individual apartments, which enabled residents to isolate and keep their distance.

The study also highlighted the favorable experience of many residents living in retirement villages and extra care housing during the pandemic. Positive outcomes for residents included high levels of feeling safe, supported and comforted, knowing other people were around, plus enjoyment from organised outdoor activities.

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