Strengthening the Health Systems Response to COVID-19 – WHO Europe publishes policy guidance on long-term care
The European Office of the World Health Organization has published policy guidance on preventing and managing the COVID-19 pandemic across long-term care services in Europe. WHO recommendations aim for guaranteeing the availability, continuity and quality of those services during the pandemic.
The number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in care facilities and long-term care (LTC) facilities have alarmed decision-makers, health care providers and communities. Yet, international evidence has shown that COVID-19 spread in residential care settings and its dramatic consequences could have been avoided through “timely and comprehensive policy action that reflects an understanding of how services are received and delivered”.
WHO Europes’s technical guidance identifies 10 policy objectives for decision-makers, policy-makers and national or regional health authorities to prevent and manage the COVID pandemic in long-term care services.
- Prioritize the maintenance of LTC services during the COVID-19 pandemic through an effective governance mechanism.
- Mobilize additional funds for the LTC system to respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Ensure infection prevention and control standards are implemented in LTC services to prevent and safely manage COVID-19 cases.
- Implement safety measures that recognize the mutual benefits of the safety of people receiving and providing LTC services.
- Prioritize testing, tracing and monitoring the spread of COVID-19 among older people receiving and providing LTC services.
- Identify and mobilize surge capacity to secure staff and resources for delivery of appropriate LTC services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Scale-up support for family caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Coordinate between services to ensure the continuum and continuity of care, including access to health care personnel and equipment in care homes, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Secure access to dignified palliative care services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Prioritize the well-being of people receiving and providing LTC services throughout and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more on AGE work on COVID-19 on our dedicated webpage.