A ground-breaking research project has been launched to study the true impact of Covid-19 on retirement villages and extra care housing schemes across England.
Led by the St Monica Trust, in partnership with the Housing LIN, the RE-COV research project has been given the green light after receiving funding from the Dunhill Medical Trust.
The aim of the research project is to better understand the experiences of retirement villages and extra care housing during the pandemic, including the effectiveness of measures taken to protect the health and well-being of residents and staff.
The findings from this research project will be invaluable in informing both ongoing and future operational decisions within older people’s housing and the care sector, ultimately influencing national policy and risk management.
Rachael Dutton, St Monica Trust’s COVID National Research Project Lead said: “In England there are more than 75,000 older people living in retirement villages and extra care housing schemes, and they represent one of the groups who are the most at risk from coronavirus.
“There is currently little robust evidence about what impact Covid-19 has had on the villages and schemes, the extent of the challenges they faced, how they have responded, or what their successes and innovations have been.
“With the increasing likelihood of pandemics occurring more frequently in the future, the findings from this research project will be invaluable in informing both ongoing and future operational decisions within older people’s housing and care sectors, ultimately influencing national policy and risk management.”
A national online survey will collate data relating to the pandemic from responses sent to the 280 housing operators managing 1,400 retirement villages and extra care housing schemes across England.
The Housing LIN’s Chief Executive, Jeremy Porteus, added: “It will greatly help us understand how the retirement village and extra care housing sector has responded to the pandemic and managed to safeguard the lives of many extremely vulnerable older residents during lockdown.”
Susan Kay, Executive Director at Dunhill Medical Trust said: “We are delighted to invest in this important piece of research. Having funded similar research into care homes at the height of Covid-19, this will therefore provide useful comparative analysis and help identify the scale of the issues faced by the specialist housing sector.”
The findings from the RE-COV research project will be shared nationally and used to inform practice, planning and requirements during the current pandemic, as well as for pandemics occurring in the future.
Retirement village operators and extra care housing schemes wishing to take part can complete the online survey here by Wednesday, 13 January 2021.