Understanding and Reducing the Psychosocial Impact of Coronavirus Social Distancing and Behavioural Changes on Families of Care Home Residents in Scotland

George Palattiyil, Lynn Jamieson, Linda McKie, Sumeet Jain, Jo Hockley, Dina Sidvha, Debbie Tolson, Trish Hafford-Letchfield, Neil Quinn, Rikke Iversholt, Kerry Musselbrook, Bruce Mason, Sarah Swift

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

5 Downloads (Pure)


Project Report Aims
This project examined the impact of social distancing on care home communities as a result of lockdown to minimise threats of COVID-19 with a particular focus on the health and well-being of family carers and investigated measures taken by care home staff to help families to stay in touch with their relatives in care homes.

Key findings
The Importance of visits: The experience of being unable to visit their loved ones during the pandemic had a negative impact upon the emotional well-being of the study participants. In our interviews, the inability to touch and see their loved ones caused multiple negative emotions. This was supported by the survey data in which 76% of participants gave responses indicating mental distress.
Significance of prior trust: The pandemic has heightened the significance of prior trust in care home staff and management, and the importance of frequent effective communication building trust and confidence when relatives are no longer in the building and able to see good practice in action.
COVID-19 led to creative changes in care home practices: Care home staff instituted greater pro-active communication with relatives, and staff reported enhanced confidence in their communication with families. Staff also made great use of digital technology to facilitate communication between residents, family carers and themselves. There was a widely expressed belief that many of these changes could be built on to improve care home practices in the future.
Maintaining communication is crucial. Analysis from the survey suggests that respondents who felt they were kept well-informed by the care home on average experienced less mental distress than those who did not.
Lack of insight into the impact of lockdown on family carers. Most policy makers and leading figures in the sector had a superficial understanding of the impact of lockdown on family carers. In particular, there was little acknowledgement of family carers as partners in providing care and the importance of that relationship to both care-giver and care-receiver.
Human rights. There was a widely expressed concern that the human right to a family life had not been adequately balanced against the risks of infection.
Impact on marginalised communities. There was a recognition the pandemic has revealed how little we value older people with dementia within our society and the needs of black and minority ethnic communities.
National Guidance. The mixed economy of care home providers meant that it was extremely difficult to implement national guidance in a manner which was consistent, equitable and appropriate across the whole sector.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGlasgow
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2021


  • care homes
  • family carers
  • COVID-19
  • ageing
  • pandemic
  • restrictions


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding and Reducing the Psychosocial Impact of Coronavirus Social Distancing and Behavioural Changes on Families of Care Home Residents in Scotland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this