Why, in almost all countries, was residential care for older people so badly affected by COVID-19?

Declercq A., de Stampa M., Geffen L., Heckman G., Hirdes J., Finne-Soveri H., Lum T., Millar N., Morris J.N., Onder G., Szczerbińska K., Topinkova E. and van Hout H.

OSE Paper Series, Opinion Paper No.23, July 2020, 13p.

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In many countries, residential care for older people was not prepared for a public health crisis: although it was very clear that frail older people were most vulnerable to COVID-19, these places, with the highest concentration of this population, did not have the necessary resources, had no plan, and became the focus of attention too late. As a consequence, the percentage of care home residents as a share of total deaths ranges from 24% in Hungary to 82% in Canada. The authors of this Opinion Paper argue that this is tragic evidence of how ageism taints the approach to care. The paper discusses what happened in residential care, why it happened, and what should be done.

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