COVID-19 resources

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Scot youth and Covid 2: young people’s participation through crisis

A Place in Childhood

This report tells the story and process of wave two of the #ScotYouthandCOVID2 project. This was a Virtual Participatory Action Research Project with 25 Young Consultants across Scotland. The findings detailed here explore the experiences and ideas for change from children and young people precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the UK moved into and through a second national lockdown at the start of 2021. The project consisted of six in-depth participatory workshops over a collaborative online environment, with the focus of building on insights from the first wave of the study in April/ May 2020 (#ScotYouthandCOVID), as well as delving deeper into future ambitions and solutions. The Young Consultants took part in five place-based teams, covering different parts of Scotland: Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Rural Falkirk and Rural Stirlingshire. All Young Consultants were aged between 11 and 17, with six new participants joining the 19 Young Consultants who contributed to the wave one work. Across the course of the project, Young Consultants discussed and agreed to reorganise themselves into Taskforce groups that led to some mixing between age and location. These Taskforces were organised based on key themes and findings from the first and second workshops. Young Consultants voted on these themes, and agreed on a final set before individually selecting the Taskforce with which they felt the strongest motivation to explore more thoroughly. The project culminated in a set of 34 asks to the Scottish Government from our Young Consultants, set out in this report. It is broadly in order of their priorities, which include: motivation and school; addressing inequalities; skills and employment; local issues; exams years with high workload and stress; wellbeing; recovery; uncertainty; and climate change. Recommendations include setting up a helpline for children and young people to ring to discuss wellbeing and get information and advice to help improve it; improving mental health support and services; and conducting a thorough and full inquiry of what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic so that we can understand and genuinely learn from experience.

Last updated on hub: 23 June 2022

Time to Live: rethinking personalised short breaks for unpaid carers during COVID-19

Shared Care Scotland

This report reviews the impact of the Time to Live (TtL) grant scheme on unpaid adult carers’ personal outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. TtL projects enable carers to access funds and support to help have some time away from their ‘caring world’ to pursue personal interests and activities that they enjoy, and contribute to their health and wellbeing. Evidence about barriers and enablers for carers in accessing TtL grants and the experience of carer centres as delivery partners of managing TtL grants during the pandemic was also gathered. Eighteen interviews took place between October and December 2021: twelve with carers, six with carers centres. This report explores key areas in relation to the impact of TtL short breaks on carers’ personal outcomes and sustainability of the breaks. The report also examines the processes that underpin these breaks, including how centres promote TtL funding and how they identify and record outcomes. The report identifies a range of personal outcomes that the breaks supported. Some of these outcomes are derived from the overall support process itself and relate to increased access to other kinds of help, reduced isolation and reduced administrative burden. Carers also identified financial wellbeing, physical and mental wellbeing, improved relationships and a strengthened sense of self as key personal outcomes that were supported through their short breaks. The support provided by carers centres encouraged carers to focus on activities with lasting benefits over quick fixes. Most carers chose to use their funding on activities that could be taken over a longer period of time (e.g. massage vouchers, yoga classes) or on equipment with long-term use, embedding ‘pockets of respite’ into their everyday lives. Where short break activities involved learning new skills, carers talked about their interests expanding into other areas as their expertise improved.

Last updated on hub: 22 June 2022

The unequal impact of Covid-19: investigating the effect on people with certain protected characteristics

NHS Confederation

This report showcases examples of health and care systems across the country devising innovative approaches to mitigate the direct effects of COVID-19, through targeted vaccination campaigns, and support for people to recover from indirect impacts, through wellbeing and support programmes. The report maps existing research into COVID-19 inequalities onto some of the UK Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics, showing how the pandemic has interacted with them. It then showcases four case studies of how different health and care systems have put in place interventions to respond to these inequalities when designing their COVID-19 response. Evidence highlighted in this report indicates that people who do not fall into the white British ethnic group, women (including pregnant women), people with disabilities and older people have all experienced worse consequences stemming from the pandemic. In some cases these relate to disease outcomes from COVID-19 itself, whereas in other cases the measures put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, have made problems with working and living conditions worse. The examples presented in this paper evidence that barriers came down during the pandemic to protect staff, patients and resources both within the NHS, and between NHS organisations and external partners in local government and the voluntary sector. They also show that tackling health inequality in an inclusive way is possible. The NHS and its partners must continue to gather data both on the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic on people with different protected characteristics, and on the effectiveness of different programmes in addressing these impacts. Building on the achievements of the past two years, we must fund voluntary and community sector partners and put processes in place to consolidate partnership working (both within the NHS and between NHS organisations and other stakeholders) to drive continued progress in reducing inequalities affecting people with protected characteristics.

Last updated on hub: 21 June 2022

Reaching inland: reflections on the A Year in Our Lives stories about living through Covid-19

Centre for Mental Health

The reflections set out in this report track the golden threads running through the stories shared in A Year in Our Lives, including the unequal impact of the pandemic, the experiences of people with pre-existing mental health difficulties, and the striking and creative ways people communicated their experiences and emotions. The document explores what we can learn from the A Year in Our Lives stories in dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic and preparing for future emergencies. It identifies how shock and fear, anger and loneliness were mixed with courage, hope and gratitude during 2020 and early 2021. Amid the suffering, many found new ways to cope and made changes to their lives in the most difficult circumstances. This document is structured as follows: patterns – the first section outlines some overall emotional themes; the unequal blow – the second focuses on the effects on people from particular walks of life and parts of society, covering some, but not all, facets of inclusion and diversity; blooming defiantly – the third focuses on the experiences of those with pre-existing mental health conditions; reaching inland – a fourth section adds a few reflections on the wonderful quality of writing, plus a few final thoughts.

Last updated on hub: 20 June 2022

A year in our lives: an anthology

Centre for Mental Health

This anthology shares how the dramatic impact of Covid-19 and resulting lockdowns affected people’s mental health, in their own words. Contributors were invited to respond to one question: how has the pandemic affected your mental health? Over 9 months, the Centre collected and published 80 first-hand accounts of people living through the pandemic. The anthology is the complete collection of diverse stories, told by people of different ages, locations and backgrounds. They share widely different perspectives; from the loss and isolation of lockdowns, to the few who found solace in a quieter, less pressurised world. These pieces are yet another reminder of the ways inequality has shaped our individual experiences of the pandemic. And together, they share a narrative history of the pandemic, from people whose voices are rarely heard.

Last updated on hub: 20 June 2022

The state of the nation: May 2021

Access Social Care

This State of the Nation report looks at the extent to which social care advice demand and provision has changed due to the COVID-19 health crisis as well as ongoing chronic underfunding in the social care sector. Access Social Care have worked with Mencap, Age UK, Carers UK and Independent Age for over a year on analysing the key challenges facing people who need social care and their families. Data is presented by categorising into group types: ‘carers’, ‘older people’ and ‘learning disability’. We compare key social care trends across England and investigate the changing pattern of advice demand and provision on these group types. We detail some examples of the impact this has had on people with social care needs and their families. The findings indicate sharp and alarming rises in demand in many areas. The rate of growth is extremely concerning, particularly against the backdrop of known and imminent cost efficiency targets within some adult social care budgets from 2021/22 onwards. Specifically, the findings show: significant increase in overall demand for carers advice – advice for carers rose by 394% in April 2021 compared to March 2019; social care needs assessment enquiries rise by 84%; social care charging queries rise by 45%; safeguarding concerns about disabled people continue, peaking in easing of national restrictions.

Last updated on hub: 20 June 2022

Rapid development of a COVID-19 care planning decision-aid for family carers of people living with dementia

Health Expectations

Introduction: COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people living with dementia and their carers. Its effects on health and social care systems necessitated a rapid-response approach to care planning and decision-making in this population, with reflexivity and responsiveness to changing individual and system needs at its core. Considering this, a decision-aid to help families of persons with dementia was developed. Objectives: To coproduce with people living with dementia, and the people who care for them, a decision-aid for family carers of people living with dementia, to support decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken in 2020 with: (1) staff from two English national end-of-life and supportive care organizations; and (2) people living with dementia and family carers. Simultaneously, a rapid review of current evidence on making decisions with older people at the end of life was undertaken. Evidence from these inputs was combined to shape the decision-aid through a series of workshops with key stakeholders, including our patient and public involvement group, which consisted of a person living with dementia and family carers; a group of clinical and academic experts and a group of policy and charity leads. Results: The rapid review of existing evidence highlighted the need to consider both process and outcome elements of decision-making and their effects on people living with dementia and their families. The qualitative interviews discussed a wide range of topics, including trust, agency and confusion in making decisions in the context of COVID-19. The decision-aid primarily focussed on care moves, legal matters, carer wellbeing and help-seeking. Conclusions: Combining different sources and forms of evidence was a robust and systematic process that proved efficient and valuable in creating a novel decision-aid for family carers within the context of COVID-19. The output from this process is an evidence-based practical decision-aid coproduced with people living with dementia, family carers, clinical and academic experts and leading national dementia and palliative care organizations. Patient or Public Contribution: We worked with people living with dementia and family carers and other key stakeholders throughout this study, from study development and design to inclusion in stakeholder workshops and dissemination.

Last updated on hub: 20 June 2022

I can't believe they are dead. Death and mourning in the absence of goodbyes during the COVID-19 pandemic

Health and Social Care in the Community

The circumstances surrounding the deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent mourning process transpired in completely atypical conditions. This study analyses the experience of losing a loved one without traditional, culture-specific rituals for saying goodbye, explores the different factors affecting the onset of mourning by family members and studies the existence of complicating risk factors associated with grief from this distinct type of loss. A qualitative, phenomenological and interpretive research study was undertaken through in-depth interviews of 48 informants, key and general, in the autonomous Community of Madrid. The interviews were conducted between July and November of 2020 and were followed by an interpretive categorical qualitative analysis. The principal results include (a) the finding that deaths caused by the pandemic are, due to their characteristics, a complicating factor for bereavement, (b) evidence that the professionals who supported these deaths with a holistic approach, facilitating the process for the family members, have been a determining factor in enabling the beginning of the mourning process and reducing anguish for the family members and (c) the conclusion that a need exists for a resignification of the funeral rite. Finally, before future crises, it is recommended that access protocols be developed for relatives, including methods that permit them to say goodbye to their loved ones, no matter the situation.

Last updated on hub: 18 June 2022

Colliding worlds: family carers experiences of balancing work and care in Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic

Health and Social Care in the Community

The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic public health and social protective measures imposed globally resulted in partial or full closure of key services and supports for services and supports for people with a disability, chronic illness or age-related dependency. This caused huge disruption to care provision and family carers were relied upon to assume this care at home. Many family carers, including those in employment, found themselves navigating additional care responsibilities without 'usual levels' of support from family, friends, work, school, day care services, homecare and community services. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family carers, their employment and care-giving responsibilities, through the lens of the Conservation of Resources (COR) theory (Hobfoll, 1989). Adopting a qualitative research approach, 16 family carers (14 females, 2 males) who were in employment prior to the onset of or during the pandemic, participated in an in-depth, semi-structured telephone or online video interview between June and September 2020. Interviews lasted between 45 and 100 min, were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. A thematic analysis of the interview data identified four main themes: colliding worlds; navigating unchartered waters alone; opportunity despite adversity and the relentless unknowing. Findings indicate that the onset of the pandemic resulted in the sudden loss of valued resources, which disrupted routines and caused care and work life domains to become intrinsically intertwined. Consistent with the main principles of the COR theory, adapting and transitioning to different ways of working and caring with depleted resources and supports, generated considerable stress for family carers and impacted their well-being. The implications for employers, healthcare providers, policy makers and other key stakeholders are considered, to enable family carers to successfully reconcile work with care and protect their well-being, as the pandemic continues to unfold and in the event of future societal crises.

Last updated on hub: 18 June 2022

Social work under COVID-19: a thematic analysis of articles in 'SW2020 under COVID-19 magazine'

British Journal of Social Work

This article presents a thematic analysis of 100 articles which appeared in 'SW2020 under COVID-19' online magazine, authored by people with lived experience, practitioners, students and academics. The magazine was founded by an editorial collective of the authors of this article and ran as a free online magazine during the period of the first UK COVID-19 lockdown period (March-July 2020). It contained a far higher proportion of submissions from the first three groups of contributors, above, than traditional journals. The analysis is organised under four analytic themes: 'Hidden populations; Life, loss and hope; Practising differently and Policy and system change'. The article concludes by describing the apparent divergence between accounts that primarily suggest evidence of improved working relationships between social workers and those they serve via digital practices, and accounts suggesting that an increasingly authoritarian social work practice has emerged under COVID-19. We argue that, notwithstanding this divergence, an upsurge in activism within social work internationally during the pandemic provides a basis for believing that the emergence of a community-situated, socially engaged social work is possible post-pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 13 June 2022

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