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2022 Conference Presentation

9 September 2022

Did the temporary assistance payments scheme to nursing homes in Ireland reduce the impact of COVID-19?

Brendan Walsh , Economic and Social Research Institute , Ireland

Sheelah Connolly, Maev-Ann Wren
Economic and Social Research Institute


Background: In Ireland, Long-Term Residential Care (LTRC) was disproportionally affected by Covid-19. Two-thirds of all Covid-19 deaths occurred in LTRC homes. In countries with large private provision of LTRC, the State was forced to provide extra assistance to private LTRC homes, such as through the Temporary Assistance Payments Scheme (TAPS) in Ireland. This scheme provided financial support to allow private LTRC homes invest in staff, infection control and additional infrastructure to make homes more resilient to Covid-19.

Objectives: While various State interventions in LTRC occurred across many countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, little is known about how assistance was used by operators and whether such assistance reduced the impact of Covid-19 in LTRC. This study aims to examine how the TAPS was used in Ireland during Waves 1-3 of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, it aims to estimate if TAPS reduced the probability of Covid-19 outbreaks in LTRC homes and the severity of outbreaks that occurred.

Methods: This study matches data on Covid-19 cases and deaths in LTRC with information on home characteristics and TAPS use for all 459 private LTRC homes operating in Ireland during the pandemic. The TAPS data include the purpose of the funding (e.g. agency staff, cleaning/infection prevention and control) and the amount of funding used captured at the LTRC home-month level. Multivariate logistic analyses will be used to examine whether TAPS impacted the probability of a Covid-19 outbreak. For LTRC homes where an outbreak occurred, multivariate generalised linear model analyses will examine the association between the severity (outbreak length, percentage of residents infected, deaths) and TAPS funding. Time and region fixed effects, and local Covid-19 community cases, will be included to capture geographic and temporal variation in Covid-19 rates.

Results: Across Waves 1-3 of the Covid-19 Pandemic, over €120m funding was provided to private LTRC homes through TAPS. The majority of homes availed of TAPS. Multivariate analyses will highlight whether TAPS reduced the impact of Covid-19 in LTRC.

Conclusions: Many countries were forced to provide additional supports to the LTRC sector during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, little is known about how such measures were used, and whether they were effective. This study will shed light on the extent to which such assistance worked in Ireland, a country where LTRC was severely impacted by Covid-19. Results from this work may also point to attributes of the assistance that could be used to ensure a sustainable LTRC sector in a post-Covid-19 environment.


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