Background: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on long-term care residents remains of wide interest, but most analyses focus on the initial wave of infections. <br/><br/>Objective: To examine change over time in: (1) The size, duration, classification and pattern of care-home outbreaks of COVID-19 and associated mortality; (2) Characteristics associated with an outbreak.<br/><br/>Design: Retrospective observational cohort study using routinely-collected data<br/>Setting: All adult care-homes in Scotland (1,092 homes, 41,299 places)<br/>Methods: Analysis was undertaken at care-home level, over three periods. Period (P)1 01/03/2020-31/08/2020; P2 01/09/2020-31/05/2021 & P3 01/06/2021-31/10/2021. Outcomes were the presence and characteristics of outbreaks and mortality within the care-home. Cluster analysis was used to compare the pattern of outbreaks. Logistic regression examined care-home characteristics associated with outbreaks. <br/><br/>Results: In total 296 (27.1%) care-homes had one outbreak, 220 (20.1%) had two, 91 (8.3%) had three, and 68 (6.2%) had four or more. There were 1,313 outbreaks involving residents: 431 outbreaks in P1, 559 in P2 and 323 in P3. The COVID-19 mortality rate per 1,000 beds fell from 45.8 in P1, to 29.3 in P2, and 3.5 in P3. Larger care-homes were much more likely to have an outbreak, but associations between size and outbreaks were weaker in later periods. <br/><br/>Conclusions: COVID-19 mitigation measures appear to have been beneficial, although the impact on residents remained severe until early 2021. Care-home residents, staff, relatives and providers are critical groups for consideration and involvement in future pandemic planning.<br/><br/>Keywords <br/>Long-term care, COVID-19, epidemiology, care-homes, data linkage<br/>


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Cite as

Burton, J., McMinn, M., Vaughan, J., Nightingale, G., Fleuriot, J. & Guthrie, B. 2023, 'Analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on Scotland’s care homes from March 2020 to October 2021: National linked data cohort analysis.', Age and Ageing, 53(2), article no: afae015. https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afae015

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