The challenges faced by nursing homes during the early COVID-19 outbreak
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Jun Zhang, Di Xiao, Katrina Perehudoff, Mustafa ‘Mike’ Z Younis, Wei Hong Zhang
Background Nursing homes around the world have been severely affected by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).1 Nursing homes experience a significantly higher risk of COVID-19 occurrence and outbreaks, which is associated with high morbidity and mortality of their residents.2,3 Hence, possible challenges in nursing homes are of serious concern during the outbreak of COVID-19. China has the largest population of older people (aged 65 years and older) in the world; its population increased by 2.5 times from 2010 to 2020.4 With more than 94 110 nursing homes and nearly 5.78 million beds5, China faces the multiple burdens of containing the COVID-19 outbreaks while protecting vulnerable older adults in nursing homes and ensuring the sustainability of the health care system. Learning from Chinese nursing homes in the early period (January- February 2020) of the COVID-19 outbreak can build the knowledge base about pandemic preparedness in the nursing home sector. This short communication is conducted to describe the key characteristics and challenges that Chinese nursing homes faced at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, in order to improve pandemic preparedness in the long-term care sector for future public health emergencies.
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