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COVID-19 surveillance in long-term care facilities



The Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has considered it necessary to establish an ad hoc surveillance system to monitor the frequency and impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection in long-term care facilities and identify significant needs that, in the event of an outbreak, would require urgent public health interventions at the local/regional/national level.


The need for such surveillance was also highlighted by the findings of a survey conducted during the first wave of the pandemic by the ISS, in cooperation with Italy’s national authority for the rights of people deprived of their liberty (Garante nazionale dei diritti delle persone private della libertà - GNPL), for the purpose of tracking the spread of infection in long-term care facilities and identifying potential problems.


The ISS, the Ministry of Health, the GNPL, the Regions and Autonomous Provinces are all involved in the surveillance, which aims to:

  • survey COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities
  • monitor COVID-19 related problems in long-term care facilities
  • monitor the mortality rate from all causes in long-term care facilities
  • promptly report significant needs (e.g. healthcare support staff, personal protective equipment - PPE, dedicated space for isolation of cases) in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.

The long-term care facilities targeted by the surveillance include:

  • nursing homes for care-dependent elderly people
  • residential care facilities for young and adult people with disabilities
  • residential care facilities for people with psychiatric disorders
  • residential care facilities referred to in article 26 of Law n.833/78

On 31st March 2022, in Italy was declared the end of the COVID-19 emergency but ISS surveillance activities about long-term care facilities continues as as required by the decree-law 24 March 2022, n.24 (article 13).


Useful resources
  • Read the “Protocol” for the COVID-19 surveillance in long-term care facilities (in Italian, pdf 887 kb)


Page last reviewed: 13 october 2022

Publication date:22 March 2020

Authors: Claudia Giacomozzi, Cecilia Damiano, Cinzia Lo Noce, Graziano Onder - Dipartimento Malattie cardiovascolari, endocrino-metaboliche e invecchiamento, ISS