Which factors are associated with COVID-19 infection incidence in care services for older people in Nordic countries? A cross-sectional survey
Auvo S. Rauhala
Lisbeth Maria Fagerström
Andrej C. Lindholst
Timo S. Sinervo
Tilde M. Bertelsen
Trond Bliksvær
Bente Vibecke Lunde
Rolf Solli
Maria G. Wolmesjö
Morten B. Hansen
Academic article
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health
Year published:
Aims: To investigate the differences between Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway regarding residential/home care units’ and frontline managers’ background factors, the resources allocated and measures taken during the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether and how these differences were associated with COVID-19 among older people in residential/home units. Methods: Register- and survey-based data. Responses from managers in municipal and private residential/home units. Number of municipal COVID-19 cases from national registries. Multilevel logistic multivariate regression analysis with presence of COVID-19 among older people in residential/home units as the outcome variable. Results: The proportions of residential/home units with client COVID-19 cases, mid-March–April 2020 were Denmark 22.7%, Finland 9.0%, Norway 9.7% and Sweden 38.8%, most cases found in clusters. The proportions were similar among employees. Client likelihood of having COVID-19 was six-fold higher if the employees had COVID-19. Mean client cases per residential/home unit were Denmark 0.78, Finland 0.46, Norway 0.22 and Sweden 1.23. For the same municipal infection incidence class, Sweden’s mean client infection levels were three-fold those of other countries. The regression analysis variables country, municipal COVID-19 incidence proportion, and care type were associated with client cases at p ⩽ .001. Compared with Denmark, the odds ratios (ORs) for Sweden, Norway and Finland were 1.86, 0.41 and 0.35 respectively. The variable difficulties in preventive testing had an OR of 1.56, p ⩽ .05. Conclusions: Municipal COVID-19 incidence, employee cases, and the lack of testing resources somewhat explained the confirmed COVID-19 cases among older people in residential/home units. A two- to five-fold unexplained inter-country difference in ORs in the multivariate analyses was notable. The level of protection of vulnerable older clients in municipal and private residential/home units differed between the included countries.