Seroscreening in nursing homes
Nursing homes have very specific circumstances that complicate their strategies with respect to SARS-CoV-2: their residents are at the highest level of risk; their age is associated with higher morbidity from Covid19 due to dysfunctional tissues; residents may have limited mobility; and lastly, visits from their friends and family are on the one hand essential for their mental and physical wellbeing and on the other, may be a source of infection.
The first element for keeping a nursing home free of the virus is good hygiene, consisting of thorough hand washing, use of masks and social distancing. Next, it’s important to deep clean rooms and common areas, control visits and personnel, and follow health authorities’ recommendations. The division of the nursing home into groups or “bubbles” and spending time and getting exercise in the fresh air can also be important for helping reduce the risk of contagion.
Seroscreening can help protect the residents’ quality of life. Keeping regular track of the residents makes it possible for the most able-bodied to not have to completely give up any of their regular activities, and for the most dependent residents to be able to take advantage of common areas. It makes it possible to detect possible carriers and quickly act to prevent outbreaks caused by asymptomatics. In addition, using seroscreening with the health professionals helps block the virus’ path into the nursing home.
The connection with family members is very important both for residents and the families themselves. Seroscreening helps prevent possible contagion between residents and their communities, and thus helps promote their emotional wellbeing.
More than half of the deaths caused by Covid19 in most developed countries around the world were residents in nursing homes or geriatric health centers.
It’s therefore particularly significant to point out that the seroscreening carried out by the Andorra Health Services (Servei Andorrà de Atenció Sanitària) was able to detect and isolate six suspected cases and stop a possible outbreak in the Clara Rabassa Nursing Home (Residència Clara Rabassa).