Mar. 27 2020

COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control in Long-Term Care Facilities

John W. Rowe, Julius B. Richmond Professor of Health Policy and Aging in the Department of Health Policy and Management, is a member of a WHO Expert Panel on Care of the Elderly that just released interim guidance for the prevention and management of COVID-19 among elderly in longterm care facilities. 

The paper published by WHO outlines steps to prevent COVID-19-virus from entering a longterm facility, spreading within the facility, and spreading outside the facility. This interim guidance will be updated as more becomes known about COVID19.

The paper provides guidance on protocols for infection prevention and control, for example, with regard to visitors and employee hygiene. It also outlines steps to improve surveillance and early detection within facilities of COVID-19, emphasizing early detection of cases. These include protocols for surveillance of employees and visitor screening; care for and confinement of residents with COVID-19; use of personal protective equipment; and cleaning measures.

The new WHO guidelines call for a minimization of the effect of infection control on the mental health and wellbeing of residents as well as for caregivers and staff.