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English care home staff morale and preparedness during the COVID pandemic: A longitudinal analysis

Publication date: 

1 Nov 2022


VOLUME 51, ISSUE 7, P792-799, JULY 2023


Brainard J, Bunn D, Watts L, Killett A, O'Brien SJ, Lake IR, Mumford S and Lane K

Publication type: 



Background Staff actions to prevent infection introduction and transmission in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) were key to reducing morbidity and mortality from COVID-19. Implementing infection control measures (ICMs) requires training, adherence and complex decision making while trying to deliver high quality care. We surveyed LTCF staff in England about their preparedness and morale at 3 timepoints during the COVID-19 epidemic. Methods Online structured survey targeted at LTCF workers (any role) administered at 3 timepoints (November 2020-January 2021; August-November 2021; March-May 2022). Narrative summary of answers, narrative and statistical summary (proportionality with Pearson's chi-square or Fisher's Exact Test) of possible differences in answers between waves. Results Across all 3 survey waves, 387 responses were received. Morale, attitudes towards working environment and perception about colleague collaboration were mostly positive at all survey points. Infection control training was perceived as adequate. Staff felt mostly positive emotions at work. The working environment remained challenging. Masks were the single form of PPE most consistently used; eye protection the least used. Mask-wearing was linked to poorer communication and resident discomfort as well as mild negative health impacts on many staff, such as dehydration and adverse skin reactions. Hand sanitizer caused skin irritation. Concusions Staff morale and working practices were generally good even though the working environment provided many new challenges that did not exist pre-pandemic.