The Effects of the 2020 COVID-19 Lockdown on Mood, Behavior, and Social and Cognitive Functioning in Older Long-Term Care Residents

TitleThe Effects of the 2020 COVID-19 Lockdown on Mood, Behavior, and Social and Cognitive Functioning in Older Long-Term Care Residents
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsAngevaare M.J, Joling K.J, Smalbrugge M., Hertogh C.MPM, Twisk J.WR, van Hout H.PJ
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Keywords*Cognition, *coronavirus disease 2019, *lockdown, *long term care, *mood change, *resident, *social interaction, Adult, Aged, Aggression, article, clinical article, cognitive defect, cohort analysis, controlled study, delirium, disease severity, Female, Human, information processing, informed consent, Loneliness, longitudinal study, Male, mild cognitive impairment, nursing home, physiotherapist, prospective study, social cohesion, very elderly

Objectives: We aimed to explore the effects of the Dutch COVID-19 lockdown (March 20-May 25, 2020) on mood, behavior, and social and cognitive functioning of older residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) prospectively. Design(s): Mixed methods: historically controlled longitudinal cohort study and focus groups. Setting and Participants: Residents of Dutch LTCFs. Method(s): Residents who were assessed during and prior to the lockdown were compared to residents of the same wards with 2 assessments prior to the lockdown. We used mixed models and generalized estimating equation analyses to explore differences in changes in mood, withdrawal and aggressive behavior, loneliness and conflict, and cognition and delirium. We also explored whether the effect of the lockdown differed for different subgroups. In 2 online focus groups, LTCF care professionals, ranging from care staff to physicians, reflected on their experiences of the effect of the lockdown and the cohort study results. Result(s): The lockdown group of 298 residents was compared to the control group of 625 residents. Self-reported mood symptoms showed a slightly greater increase during the lockdown. During the first half of the lockdown, the level of conflict with other residents decreased whereas it increased in the control group. The subgroup with moderate-severe cognitive impairment showed a decrease in withdrawal during the lockdown, whereas the group with no-mild cognitive impairment showed a statistically nonsignificant relative increase. Professionals described great individual variation in the effects of the lockdown on residents. Facilities attempted to preserve the experienced positive effects, for example, by promoting tranquility in shared rooms and continuing to organize individualized ward-based activities. Conclusions and Implications: We did not find clinically relevant negative effects of the lockdown on mood, behavior, and social and cognitive functioning in older residents of LTCFs at the group level. Possibly, staff mitigated the negative effects at the group level. Meanwhile, they learned lessons that they continue to apply to enhance resident well-being.Copyright © 2022 The Authors