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Researchers in Clinical Medicine awarded Government Rapid Response Funding for CoVID-19 research

The research projects are part of a coordinated COVID-19 Rapid Response Research, Development and Innovation programme with projects supported by Science Foundation Ireland, in partnership with the Department for the Economy and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, and the Irish Research Council and Health Research Board.

Project Title : How can the built environment boost quality of life in long-term care during a pandemic?

Lead Researcher :
Professor Desmond O'Neill, Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin

Summary :

CoVID-19 has brought many health issues into sharp focus. Key among them is the need to balance infection control with quality of life in residential long-term care settings such as nursing homes. Science Foundation Ireland is funding a new project at Trinity College Dublin to look at the impact of space, buildings, and technology on infection control and on resident and staff wellbeing in long-term care settings. By finding that evidence, the project will highlight how we can design new long-term care buildings and retrofit existing ones to improve pandemic resilience.

What is the issue?

Infection control is very important in residential long-term care settings, but it needs to take the staff and residents' quality of life into account. COVID-19 has highlighted how the built environment and infection control can exacerbate social isolation, loneliness and anxiety among residents and staff.

What will the research do?

The research, led by Trinity College Dublin, will identify the features of the built environment that improve infection control and those that support quality of life, and where these converge or diverge.

What will the impact be?

By identifying the features that enable maximal infection control while retaining good quality of life for residents, the project will inform future builds and retrofits of residential long-term care buildings and will improve pandemic resilience.

Professor Desmond O'Neill, Professor in Gerontology, said:

The pandemic has pinpointed the importance of space and spatial practices such as social distancing and isolation, all of which have huge importance for the built environment in terms of planning, design and architecture: this is of particular importance for the nursing home environment, home of those at most risk for the twin COVID-19 perils of mortality and harmful social isolation