COVID-19: Impact and Burden in Care Homes

Why are we doing this study?

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a substantial risk to elderly and vulnerable care home residents and COVID-19 can spread rapidly in care homes. We have national, daily data on people with COVID-19 and deaths, but there is no similar data for care homes. This makes it difficult to know the scale of the problem, and plan how to keep care home residents safe.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also posed new and significant challenges to care home staff. Usual ways of working and practices are disrupted during the pandemic. Care home staff have had to adopt different ways of providing care to residents, and take on new roles and responsibilities. Understanding the nature of these changes and their impact is critical to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on residents, relatives and staff. This can help us identify ways to improve working conditions, safety, infection prevention and control, as well as inform future preparedness and response strategies.

What will this study involve?

The UKRI- and ESRC-funded ‘Covid 19 - ImpAcT and Burden in Care Homes’ (CATCH 19) study is being conducted by a team of researchers at University College London (UCL).

The study has two parts:

  • Part one investigates the burden of COVID-19 across care homes using care home surveillance system data provided by a national care home provider (in partnership with the study), Public Health England, NHS England and the Royal College of General Practitioners (GPs). Data calculations include the rate of COVID-19 cases (confirmed and suspected), hospital admissions and deaths in our partnership providers’ care homes by age-group, gender and region.
  • The second part of the study involves understanding what impact COVID-19 has had on care home staff and residents . We want to hear about care home staff’s experiences and how working practices have changed during the pandemic, and what challenges care homes have faced. For example, use and access to personal protection equipment (PPE), access to medical advice from GPs and other healthcare professionals, availability of medicines and guidance received.

Overall, this study will evidence the impact of COVID-19 and the challenges and factors influencing the ways of working in care homes from multiple perspectives. A report will enable lessons and rapid responses on the management of COVID-19 and proposed pragmatic solutions for dissemination to other care homes.

To collect the information for part 2 of the study, we will conduct interviews over the telephone with care home staff and a web-based survey. If you work in a care home and are interested in taking part, please see information below.

Interested in taking part?

Do you currently work in a care home in the UK? If so, we are keen to speak to you!

We are hoping to conduct our telephone interviews beginning in May 2020. These are informal discussions with a trained researcher from the CATCH 19 team. We wish to speak to a wide range of individuals who work in care homes, including care assistants, senior carers, nurses, managers, as well as those who may work closely with care homes, including GPs, commissioners etc.

We want to hear about how you have found working during the COVID-19 outbreak. There are no right or wrong answers, and we are interested in hearing about the experiences and challenges you and your colleagues have faced during these difficult times.

The interviews will be conducted by telephone, at a date and time that suits you. Interviews will last up to 1 hour (likely 30 to 40 minutes; depends on how much you have to say!), and we are offering a £50 payment for taking part.

The interview will be audio-recorded and transcribed for the research team to analyse. All data will be fully anonymised and with strict confidentiality (in line with GDPR guidance) so that it isn’t possible to identify you, your colleagues or organisation from any of the data.

This study has been reviewed and approved by UCL Ethics Research Committee (Project ID: 13355/002).

About the study and how to take part

If you are interested in sharing your views and experiences of managing COVID-19 in care homes, or to ask any further questions, please email us at

I want to participate

© 2020-2021 University College London. All rights reserved.

Powered by Hydejack v9.0.3