COVID-19 and Caregivers of Assisted living Residents: their Experiences and Support needs

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We are looking for family and friend caregivers of residents of assisted living British Columbia and designated supportive living in Alberta to participate in a research study to illuminate and understand the impact of COVID-19 (and associated social distancing restrictions and policies) on the care and oversight provided by family caregivers.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on older adults living in long-term care (LTC) homes and supportive housing such as assisted living (AL). There are both high rates of COVID-19 infection and more serious outcomes among those living in these settings with up to 80% of COVID-19 related deaths in Canada among continuing care residents. So far, most media and research attention has focused on LTC homes with less attention paid to AL, which has grown rapidly in provinces like Alberta and British Columbia. Residents of AL are similar in a number of ways to those in LTC, and AL settings are also facing the same concerns raised about the staffing, oversight and resources provided for infection prevention and control across LTC. In fact, compared to LTC facilities there are generally fewer services provided and lower staffing levels in AL with higher expectations for family involvement in supporting the resident.

Why we are doing this study

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on older adults living in continuing care settings and on their family/friend caregivers.

  • Safety measures implemented during the pandemic, such as visitor and activity restrictions were critical; however, these measures have had unintended consequences for the health and well-being of clients and their family/friend caregivers.

  • The main benefits of this study will be (a) an improved understanding of the impact of COVID-19 and related restrictions on the involvement of family/friend caregivers in the care fo older adults living in DSL/AL homes and on the health and well-being of caregivers themselves, and (b) evidence to help guide DSL/AL policies and practices to support the involvement and well-being of family/friend caregivers during future infectious disease outbreak.

  • To learn from this pandemic and improve our responses, we need evidence about its impact, collected in a systematic way. If we do not measure it, we cannot change it!

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