Covid-19 preparedness and perceived safety in nursing homes in southern portugal: a cross-sectional survey-based study in the initial phases of the pandemic

Óscar Brito Fernandes, Pedro Lobo Julião, Niek Klazinga, Dionne Kringos, Nuno Marques

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Abstract

(1) Background: Nursing homes’ preparedness in managing a public health emergency has been poor, with effects on safety culture. The objective of this study was to assess nursing homes’ COVID-19 preparedness in southern Portugal, including staff’s work experiences during the pandemic. (2) Methods: We used a COVID-19 preparedness checklist to be completed by management teams, followed by follow-up calls to nursing homes. Thereafter, a survey of staff was applied. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analysis, and thematic analysis of open-end questions. (3) Results: In total, 71% (138/195) of eligible nursing homes returned the preparedness checklist. We conducted 83 follow-up calls and received 720 replies to the staff survey. On average, 25% of nursing homes did not have an adequate decision-making structure to respond to the pandemic. Outbreak capacity and training were areas for improvement among nursing homes’ contingency plans. We identified teamwork as an area of strength for safety culture, whereas compliance with procedures and nonpunitive response to mistakes need improvement. (4) Conclusions: To strengthen how nursing homes cope with upcoming phases of the COVID-19 pandemic or future public health emergencies, nursing homes’ preparedness and safety culture should be fostered and closely monitored.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7983
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Care home
  • Contingency plan
  • Long-term care
  • Prepared-ness
  • Public health emergency
  • Safety culture
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social care
  • Survey
  • Workforce

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