Don’t bring COVID home for Christmas – analysing emerging themes during COVID-19 through lenses of care homes and universities in Finland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Sweden

Part of Special Series: WONCA World Rural Health Conference Abstracts 2022go to url


name here
Alan White
1 MRes , PhD Candidate *

name here
Frances Hines
2 Manager Research, Development and Innovation


*Mr Alan White


1, 2 Highland Health Ventures Ltd, Inverness, Highland, UK


10 January 2023 Volume 23 Issue 1


RECEIVED: 20 September 2022

ACCEPTED: 20 September 2022


White A, Hines F.  Don’t bring COVID home for Christmas – analysing emerging themes during COVID-19 through lenses of care homes and universities in Finland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Sweden . Rural and Remote Health 2023; 23: 8143. https://doi.org/10.22605/RRH8143


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Background: In autumn of 2020, the UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care pleaded with young people to 'not kill your gran' when returning home, after he confirmed the surge in coronavirus cases at that time was associated with students away from home for the first time. Meanwhile residents continued to die in care homes across the NPA Region.


  • To examine the impact of COVID-19 on communities through the twin lenses of University Campuses and Care Homes from November 2020 to March 2021.
  • To generalise findings to society as a whole through the NPA Covid-19 themes of clinical aspects, health and wellbeing, technology solutions, citizen engagement/community response and economic impacts.
  • Methods: Surveys and 1:1 interviews via zoom or telephone gathered data. Informed consent was obtained from all participants including students, care home residents, the families of care home residents and care home workers. They were recruited via flyers and completing a Survey Monkey questionnaire.

    Results: Mistakes made at Government level is also a common feature. In Scotland and Northern Ireland this was centred around the movement of people from hospital into the care home sector without sufficient testing, preparedness (PPE/isolation) or resources, whilst in Sweden and Finland it focused more on a reliance on soft law. The project was selected to be presented virtually at the European Regions week as well as at the the Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland in October 2021.

    Discussion: Among students, there was little awareness that they might be asymptomatic and could infect vulnerable contacts by bringing COVID home for Christmas In care homes, residents continued to die, and experiments took place using digital interventions to monitor social distancing and afford more access for family members.

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