COVID-19 and distance socializing between people living in a residential facility and caregivers in the context of a visitors ban

Ano de publicação: 2020


The objective of this rapid response is to spotlight various ways that are being used or that could potentially be used to foster social interactions between caregivers and vulnerable people at a time when no visits are allowed at hospitals, residential and long-term care centres, seniors’ residences and at intermediary resources and family-type resources.


Review methods: The data came from a variety of sources: PubMed, Google Scholar, Google (websites). Various combinations of key words, in English and French, were used.

For example:

Proches aidants (proches, caregivers); Hébergement (long-term care, nursing homes, youth protection services, Ehpad); Isolement, isolement social, distanciation sociale, confinement, distance; Personnes âgées, incapacités, hospitalisation (elderly, older, disabled, hospitalized); Communication, vidéoconférence; Coronavirus, covid-19.


o A study published in 2017 shows that digital communication technologies such as the Internet could promote social connectivity, thereby reducing the rate of social isolation and loneliness. In Quebec, 92% of households had a residential Internet connection in 2018; however, among people aged 65 and over, this percentage was only 81%. In addition, Internet access in hospitals, residential and long-term care centres, seniors’ residences and at intermediary resources and family-type resources may be limited. Considering that digital literacy levels and access to tools vary widely, there is a part of the population for whom technological means are not available. It is appropriate to coach some people in order to facilitate their use of technology (as suggested above). It is important to provide access to a computer, tablet or smartphone to people who do not have these devices so that they can get in touch with their loved ones. COMMUNICATION BETWEEN INSTITUTIONS (FACILITIES) AND CAREGIVERS: Institutions (facilities) may glean some ideas from the following suggestions: Keep loved ones up to date on the situation by using listserv emails. Set up a telephone line to provide a recorded report on the current operation of the facility and update it frequently (e.g., every day). Assign someone to act as a primary contact who can be easily reached by a resident’s loved ones. This contact person needs to communicate frequently with a designated loved one to provide updates on the resident’s status, particularly if the resident is unable to communicate on his/her own. Share general information or news releases via the Facebook page of the institution or facility.


Consideration should be given to some of the support services as a way of helping isolated people counter the harmful effects of their isolation; these include: Telephone helplines. Online cognitive-behavioural therapy to reduce loneliness and promote psychological well-being in people living in a residential facility. Telephone support services that are normally available to caregivers continue to remain accessible during the current crisis.

Examples include:

National Dementia Helpline (Australia). Centre de soutien entr’Aidants (Quebec). Ligne info-aidants par l’ (Quebec). There are also online support services for caregivers.

For example:

Canadian Caregiver Network, for the loved ones of people suffering from dementia.

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