Health and care workers in long-term care facilities and their role in preventing emerging infectious diseases: A scoping review

Po Jen Kung, Ching Ju Fang, Yi Yuan Cheng, Ching Min Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on healthcare systems worldwide. In particular, long-term care facilities have proved more susceptible to infection as they care for vulnerable populations at high risk of chronic illness. How this impacts the role and core competencies of health and care workers in these facilities remains less understood. Aim: Describe how health and care workers contribute to the prevention of emerging infectious diseases in long-term care facilities. Design: A scoping review. Methods: A systematic search of literature dating from 2002 to 2022 was conducted in the following databases: EMBASE, Medline (Ovid), Cochrane Library, CINAHL Plus with Full Text (EBSCOhost), Web of Science, and AgeLine. Studies were selected if they focused on health and care workers in long-term care facilities, offered a perspective on the prevention of emerging infectious diseases or infection prevention and control, and were original qualitative or quantitative studies in English. Data were extracted, cross-checked and analyzed by two researchers, and any difference in views regarding the appropriateness of literature would be resolved by consulting a third researcher. An inductive descriptive approach was applied for the analysis of results, and themes were established via consensus meetings. Results: A total of fourteen studies from Asia, Europe, and the Americas were included. Three themes emerged from the review: “The roles of health and care workers evolve with the times”, “The core competencies of health and care workers are essential for preventing emerging infectious diseases in long-term care facilities” and “The key to successful prevention of emerging infectious diseases in long-term care facilities is through a systematic, comprehensive effort that mobilize health and care workers at all levels”. Health and care workers had to take on increasingly complex roles and rely on their core competencies to cope with epidemic changes, and facility resources, employee quality and management models were found to have significantly improved infection prevention and control outcomes. Conclusions: The roles of health and care workers are evolving, and effective infection prevention within long-term care facilities depends on their ability to perform core competencies with skill and confidence. Moreover, a systematic, comprehensive framework, for which this paper proposes three guidelines, is urgently needed to ensure consistent policy implementation within the facility as well as support and access to resources for health and care workers. Clinical Relevance: Infection prevention efforts within long-term care facilities must take into account the evolving roles of health and care workers, with a focus on guaranteeing access to resources, training and support that will help them gain the core competencies necessary for juggling those roles. In addition, there is an urgent need for research instruments that will help assess those competencies and identify areas of improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-281
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Volume56
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Nursing

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Health and care workers in long-term care facilities and their role in preventing emerging infectious diseases: A scoping review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this