If your home is chosen to take part in the feasibility study, or chosen to use the devices in the larger trial, there will be a few differences to your normal procedures. The most obvious difference will be that everyone in the home, whether they’re staff, a resident or a visitor, will be asked to wear a device. However anyone who is under 16, is a temporary resident in the home, or might come into harm from wearing the device (for example, residents who might try to swallow it) will not be asked to wear a device.
For those who are asked, they will be presented with some information about the study and given the option to either say yes or no. If they choose not to wear a device, they will not be treated any differently to anyone else in terms of care. For those who say yes, they will need to wear the device on the outside of their clothes (not in pockets) for all of the time they are present in the care home.
These devices do not track individual movements, and cannot track anyone who is outside of the care home. They work using Bluetooth technology and transmitters which have a limited range, so once a device leaves the care home property it can no longer be detected, even if it comes into contact with someone else wearing a device.
The contact tracing data collected within the care home is only used to track either contact with someone who has been infected with COVID-19 or a gastrointestinal infection, or to see overall patterns of movement. The researchers will not be tracing individual movements, and they will only look at an individual’s contacts if that person has been infected. Care home managers and healthcare staff will not have access to the data so will not be able to trace an individual’s contacts themselves.
If your home joins the larger trial and is not chosen to use the devices, you will not need to wear anything and your contacts will not be recorded. We will only be collecting information about infection outbreaks and care home policies from these homes.
Permanent residents who are able to wear a device safely will be asked to join the trial. They will be issued a device they can wear comfortably, such as on a watch strap. We will ask for information about previous COVID-19 infections and vaccinations, and previous gastrointestinal infections.
We will then record any infections that happen during the trial, and may also ask for other information from their medical records.
Permanent, temporary, bank, and agency staff will be asked to join the trial. They will be asked to wear a device on the outside of their clothes, such as on a lanyard or brooch. Permanent staff will be asked to keep their device with them when they leave the home. This is because if the device is left inside the home it will look as though the staff member is still there, and anyone walking past will record a contact with the staff member.
If the staff member then tests positive for an infection, anyone who has been near the device, even if the staff member was not wearing it, will be informed they’re at risk of infection, which clearly wouldn’t be correct. The devices cannot record contacts when they are out of range of the transmitters within the care home, so if it is taken home with the staff member this prevents any incorrect contacts being recorded.
Staff members who do not work regularly at the care home will be given a temporary device to use just for the day, and will be asked to hand it back at the end of their shift. These devices will be stored in a special way to prevent incorrect contacts being recorded, however this cannot be done for permanent staff devices.
We will also ask for some information when the staff member joins the trial, such as whether they have had the COVID-19 vaccination, and if/when they last had COVID-19 or a gastrointestinal infection. During the trial we will record the dates of new infections.
Visitors will be asked to carry a device while they are in the home. Each home will have a sign in sheet that records which device the visitor is carrying, and the times they pick it up and drop it off, as well as some other details such as the purpose of the visit and how regularly they visit the home.
These details will be collected by CTRU, however other details that may be on the sign in sheet such as the visitor’s name, the name of the person they are visiting and their car registration will not be sent to CTRU. For the full details of the trial at a particular home, please ask the care home staff for an information sheet.
If you are a care home manager and would like your home to be considered for this trial, please contact the trial team by emailing us.
If you are a staff member, visitor, resident or the friend or family of a resident at one of our participating care homes, the best way to find out information is to ask at your care home for details and request an information sheet from them. You can also download a general information sheet by clicking the relevant link below.
[links to staff, resident, visitor info sheets when these are ready for ex_feas]