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Special Collection

COVID-19 and Long-Term Care Policy

Collection launched: 17 Sep 2020
Despite early warnings about the high vulnerability to COVID-19 of older people and those with existing health conditions, the initial policy responses in many countries to the epidemic have failed to provide adequate protection for people with long-term care needs (WHO 2020). The impact on people living in care homes has often been devastating, accounting for about a half of all deaths attributed to COVID-19, and in some countries as many as 1 in 20 residents have lost their lives because of the virus (Comas-Herrera et al. 2020). The implementation of measures to tackle COVID-19 risk for care home residents has also been challenging, often resulting in the confinement of residents to their rooms, requiring transfers to quarantine facilities, and leading to the suspension of face to face contact between residents and their family and friends for long periods of time.

Although less well reported, there is growing evidence of increased mortality among people receiving care in the community (Imserso 2020, Hodson et al 2020) and of increased financial, mental and physical stress on unpaid carers (Lorenz-Dant 2020).

The International Long-Term Care Policy Network started the LTCcovid.org initiative in mid-March with the aim of sharing emerging international experience, evidence and resources to support policy responses to mitigate the impact of COVID among people using and providing long-term care. As the body of evidence about the impact of the pandemic has grown, so has the awareness of the extent to which existing structural problems with long-term care systems (underfunding, fragmentation of responsibilities, staff working with poor pay and conditions, obsolete infrastructure, underdeveloped information systems) have impacted on the ability of the system to respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19.

The Journal of Long-Term Care is publishing a special collection of articles that document and analyse the policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in long-term care systems all over the world. We are delighted to welcome the first two publications: Embregts and colleagues conduct a rapid review of the potential impact of infection outbreaks on the psychological wellbeing of care staff and Green and colleagues analyse the very early responses of long-term care systems to the pandemic.

Contributions to this special collection are welcome. Please contact us at Journal.of.long-term.care@lse.ac.uk if you would like to like your contribution before submission.

Adelina Comas-Herrera, Jose-Luis Fernandez, Mike Clark and Juliette Malley