Improving Quality of Life and Enhancing COVID-19 Infection Control in Existing Residential Care Settings for Older People

These Universal Design guidelines and the research that underpins them were initiated and completed during the COVID-19 pandemic and focus on existing residential long-term care settings (RLTC) for older people in Ireland. The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected older persons, and in particular, those living in residential long-term care settings (RLTC). While the primary impacts of COVID-19 were illness and death, the secondary impacts of isolation, loneliness, lack of physical activities and social interaction that resulted from infection control measures were also devastating to people living in RLTC settings.

The guidelines, informed by the research report ‘Universal Design for Improving Quality of Life and Enhancing COVID-19 Infection Control in Existing Residential Care Settings for Older People’, focus on how the built environment in settings can be adapted or retrofitted to:

  • enhance the quality of life for residents,
  • improve the visitor experience for friends and family members (without compromising the quality of life for residents); and,
  • improve pandemic preparedness and resilience while still protecting the psychosocial health and well-being of residents.