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‘Exciting’ pilot aims to tackle infections in care homes

A nurse supporting a national project to reduce the burden of infectious diseases on care homes in England has described it as an “exciting” opportunity for the sector.

The VIVALDI Social Care pilot will work with more than 500 residential and nursing homes across the country to monitor infections such as Covid-19, influenza, norovirus and urinary tract infections.

It has been commissioned by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and will be carried out by University College London (UCL), The Outstanding Society, Care England and NHS England.

The pilot is described as a “national surveillance study” and builds on the success of the VIVALDI project that took place during the pandemic and focused solely on Covid-19 in care homes.

The data from the new study will be anonymised and analysed to get a better picture of the current impact of infections on care homes and how this can be reduced.

Zoë Fry, registered nurse and executive director of The Outstanding Society, a community interest company that shares good practice in social care, said the research team would work closely with care home staff and residents and their families.

She told Nursing Times: “We will start by measuring 10 outcomes and will prioritise measuring things that residents, relatives, care providers, care staff and policymakers tell us are most important, like the number of flu outbreaks, or the number of people admitted to hospital for a urine infection.

Zoë Fry

“Our objective is to assess various aspects of infections and outbreaks within care homes, providing a thorough understanding of their impact.”

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The pilot will take place over 12 months, commencing in 2024.

Ms Fry said the hope was that the project would help to reduce the number of infections in residents as well as the severity of outbreaks and the need to close care homes to new admissions and visitors.

“As a nurse committed to adult social care, I see this project as an exciting chance for the sector,” added Ms Fry.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to work with residents, visitors and care home teams to collaboratively shape this study.”

Any care homes that want to register an interest in taking part in the project can do so using this online form or by emailing info@vivaldisocialcare.co.uk

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