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Editorial

Rehabilitation of care home residents will be vital after lockdown ends

Good nutrition and hydration are also important in supporting recovery from COVID-19

Good nutrition and hydration are also important in supporting recovery from COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on older people and on care home residents in particular.

Many people will have an ongoing legacy of functional decline that goes beyond the breathlessness, brain fog and fatigue that are among the most commonly reported symptoms of long COVID.

Care home residents may have experienced additional social isolation and loneliness during the extended period

Good nutrition and hydration are also important in supporting recovery from COVID-19

Rehabilitation of care home residents will be vital after lockdown ends
Picture: i Stock

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on older people and on care home residents in particular.

Many people will have an ongoing legacy of functional decline that goes beyond the breathlessness, ‘brain fog’ and fatigue that are among the most commonly reported symptoms of long COVID.

Care home residents may have experienced additional social isolation and loneliness during the extended period of ‘no visiting’, and this may further contribute to functional decline.

Our practice question explores how the rehabilitation of care home residents after COVID-19 can be supported. Physical rehabilitation is a key part of recovery but it must be appropriately tailored for older people living with frailty.

In the article, Fernanda Patrocinio and Helena Talbot-Rice of St Christopher’s Hospice in London provide top tips on applying the four main components of rehabilitative palliative care, focusing on living well and actively until death. Nurses can usefully incorporate these tips into their practice in care homes.

This does not rule out the role of community therapy services, which continue to be essential in supporting care home residents with complex needs.

Rehabilitation goes hand in hand with emphasising the role of good nutrition and hydration in supporting recovery from COVID-19. Malnutrition can lead to fatigue and loss of muscle mass and strength, so it is essential that it is managed proactively.

Nurses again have an important role to play in identifying and addressing nutritional issues of concern for older people. In our evidence & practice article, Managing malnutrition in older adults in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, dietitian Sue Baic identifies the evidence base for understanding and managing malnutrition in older adults with COVID-19 in the community, with plenty of practical suggestions for food-first interventions.


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