COVID-19 resources

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Covid-19 Insight: issue 8

Care Quality Commission

This insight report takes a closer look at how urgent and emergency care services have been affected by the pandemic during the winter, and highlights action CQC is taking to support services under pressure. The challenges for emergency departments have included how to manage services safely, through social distancing and infection control measures, while ensuring people have timely access to treatment. In response to these pressures, this report discusses the CQC work with frontline clinicians from emergency departments throughout the country to mitigate risk and maintain safe care. The report highlights the Patient FIRST framework, which includes practical examples on how clinicians can effectively manage patient flow, infection control, staffing and treatment in emergency departments. The report also includes up-to-date data on the provision of ‘designated settings’ for COVID-19 patients being discharged from hospital into adult social care; and numbers of deaths of people detained under the Mental Health Act.

Last updated on hub: 01 March 2021

An overview of union, government, and employer actions worldwide to improve conditions in the long-term care sector during COVID-19

International Long-term Care Policy Network

This paper was prepared by UNI Global Union’s UNICARE sector and draws on the experience of its members, representing over 2 million care workers in 80 countries, on all continents to paint a picture of the state of long term care sector and the working conditions of the care workforce during the pandemic. Inadequate staffing levels have been a major problem in long-term care (LTC) for decades. Coronavirus outbreaks have exacerbated long-standing problems, and a growing body of research shows that low staffing levels are related to negative outcomes for people living in care homes during COVID-19. Pandemic pay, hazard pay, and bonuses have been part of the response for frontline workers, but these interventions will not have lasting impacts on working or living conditions. Low wages have hindered the retention and recruitment of new workers to this industry – inadequate pay also forces many workers to have more than one job, leaving them more vulnerable to increased coronavirus exposure. Personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution and access to testing was a problem at the beginning of the pandemic, and it continues to be an issue to this day. Vaccines are an important part of the solution, but until more is known about the longevity of the vaccine or if it prevents transmission, other infection control measures remain essential. Sick pay is essential so workers can isolate while they wait for testing results or recover from illness. Unionisation and access to collective bargaining is an essential element to improving working conditions and living conditions in LTC.

Last updated on hub: 01 March 2021

Rapid evaluation of health and care services – planning a sustainable solution for the post-COVID reset

The AHSN Network

In the first wave of COVID-19, health and care services innovated and adapted at unprecedented speed to provide care and protect staff and patients during a rapidly developing global pandemic. This white paper explores the barriers and facilitators to performing timely, rigorous and effective evaluations of these changes. Eighteen independent semi-structured interviews were carried out with leaders from a range of health policy, research and service delivery organisations. Interviews sought to understand stakeholders perspectives on two main questions: how can rapid evidence reviews and rapid service evaluations be resourced and prioritised to inform meaningful service transformation in health and social care systems; and what are the facilitators, barriers and opportunities to performing rapid service evaluations, regionally and nationally, both during and outside of a rapidly developing emergency. Using learning from the pandemic, the report sets out recommendations for how to prioritise and resource rapid service evaluations to enable more efficient and effective scale-up of health and care innovations, both regionally and nationally. These include: there should be a national policy to promote evaluation of all significant service changes; large-scale service change should have an appropriate funding allocation to support a relevant evaluation programme; clarity is required on expectations of different funded entities regarding balance of research and evaluation; greater parity for social care evaluation and research is needed; there should be a system for ongoing dialogue between the NHS and care with researchers to identify priority needs for service evaluation and research; there should be greater national and regional co-ordination of effort across research and evaluation potential partners; there should be a national repository of available evaluations and applied research; there is a need to increase the capacity for evaluation.

Last updated on hub: 01 March 2021

Leading a long-term care facility through the COVID-19 crisis: successes, barriers and lessons learned

Healthcare Quarterly

The long-term care (LTC) sector has been the epicentre of COVID-19 in Canada. This paper describes the leadership strategies that helped manage the pandemic in one COVID-19-free LTC facility in British Columbia. Qualitative interviews with four executive leaders were collected and analysed. The facility implemented most provincial guidelines to prevent or mitigate virus spread. Crisis leadership competencies and safety prioritization helped this site’s successful management of the pandemic. There was room for improvement in communication and staffing practices and policies in the facility.

Last updated on hub: 01 March 2021

The impact of Covid-19 on England’s youth organisations

UK Youth

This report provides a snapshot of the impact of Covid-19 on the youth sector and the support they need. A total of 1,759 youth organisations responded to UK Youth’s call for data and offer of financial support to youth services struggling in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. By drawing on operational and financial data offered through the application process, the report outlines who these organisations are and explores their operating circumstances before the crisis hit. The report also explores how Covid-19 and the subsequent limitations of the youth sector have affected young people. It outlines the main areas in which young people desperately require support, from both the youth sector and other services. Two thirds (66%) of the participating youth organisations reported an increase in demand for their services; 83% of youth organisations reported that their income decreased; and more than half (57%) of youth organisations report that the cost of delivering their services to young people has increased since COVID-19 hit. Overall, the report highlights that COVID-19 has and is continuing to have a substantial, negative impact on young people, particularly regarding their wellbeing and mental health. In turn, youth organisations are seeing an increase in demand for their services. However, in many cases, youth organisations are simply unable to meet the substantial demand for their services. The report recommends that that unrestricted funding is made available to the youth sector in order to address three main areas: covering operational costs and responding to local need; rebuilding the workforce; and facilitating adaptation of services, including investment in digital infrastructure.

Last updated on hub: 01 March 2021

The domestic abuse report 2021: the annual audit

Women's Aid

This report presents information on the provision and usage of domestic abuse services in England, mainly focusing on the financial year 2019-20. This year we have included an additional section on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the latest in our series of domestic abuse report publications, which offers a comprehensive evidence base on the national picture of domestic abuse support work year on year. Three of Women’s Aid’s data sources are used to provide a statistical analysis of the provision of domestic abuse services in 2019- 20, and the survivors they supported. These data sources are On Track, Routes to Support and the Women’s Aid Annual Survey 2020. Key findings include: Key findings: local service providers continue to support large numbers of women and children – in 2019-20 Women’s Aid estimates that refuge services in England supported 10,592 women and 12,710 children and community-based services supported 103,969 women and 124,762 children; only 73.5% (50 out of 68) of the respondents providing refuge and 67.8% (40 out of 59) of those providing community-based support services were commissioned by their local authority; demand is still higher than the provision available, with 57.2% of refuge referrals declined during the year – 18.1% of all referrals were turned down due to lack of capacity in the refuge; the number of spaces in refuge services in England still falls short of the number of spaces recommended by the Council of Europe by 1,694 spaces, which represents a 30.1% shortfall – an additional increase of 361 to 4,251 spaces by 1 November 2020 is due to temporary emergency funding which will soon come to an end; less than half of all vacancies posted on Routes to Support for England in 2019-20 were in rooms suitable for a woman with two children; only 4.0% could consider women who had no recourse to public funds.

Last updated on hub: 01 March 2021

Coronavirus briefing: guidance for social work practitioners

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

A summary of guidance for social workers and social work practitioners who are working with children and families during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The briefing brings together key guidance from all four UK nations to answer some frequently asked questions. Areas covered include: the social work workforce, including ensuring there are sufficient social workers to support children and families; how the coronavirus is affecting the child protection system; and the impact on direct work with children and families. [First published 22 May 2020 under a different title]

Last updated on hub: 01 March 2021

Adapting to a new world: supporting the youngest children and their families through the pandemic

Action for Children

This briefing looks at how Action for Children responded to the pandemic and the lockdown. A key element of its response was digital: both the shift to digital provision of traditionally face-to-face services and the expansion of existing digital services. The briefing explores how AfC underwent that shift: the challenges it faced, the opportunities that opened up, and, most importantly, the impact on children and families. It offers an insight into the advantages and limitations of more digital-focused models of service delivery. It also charts the experiences of a specific local area in rapidly pivoting its approach to the delivery of early years services. The briefing details the expansion and development of our online parenting support service, Parent Talk. The key enablers of successful digital work, as well as the obstacles that must be considered and overcome, are also explored. Importantly, this document demonstrates the need to centralise outcomes for children and families as part of any future decisions about early years service delivery. Staff recognise the value of using technology to communicate with families, and feel that digital provision has an important role to play within the wider package of support we offer. Staff are keen to adopt a blended approach where possible, with different support options available depending on the needs of families and local areas. However, the overarching message from our staff is that digital provision should never replace face-to-face support.

Last updated on hub: 01 March 2021

Lessons from lockdown: the experience of shielding

Bevan Foundation

Findings of a research study to examine the impact of shielding during the pandemic and the support needed as people emerged from shielding. The research team engaged with 12 stakeholders from charities which represent people affected by shielding they had been directly affected by the shielding policy in Wales. Most people were eager to talk about their experiences, not least because they felt they have been ignored. Many wanted to discuss their concerns about arrangements for the future to ensure shielding advice reflects their experiences. Many people were left to deal with lockdown alone and many of those advised to shield will have experienced the impact on their mental health, with some needing support to manage this. These restrictions also had negative effects on physical health, as many of those advised to shield reduced the amount of exercise they took, particularly as even normal routine activities like going to the local shop were restricted. Only a small number of people interviewed had received any form of intervention, either in the form of a welfare check via the phone or a more substantial intervention. but they had found this extremely helpful. The report identifies the further actions that should be undertaken to support people advice to shield, and also considers what needs to be in place should shielding be advised again. It covers the following issues; shielding policy in Wales; health and wellbeing; managing risk; impact on carers; managing shielding in the future.

Last updated on hub: 01 March 2021

Housing and health: working together to respond to rough sleeping during Covid-19

St Mungo's

This report presents the findings of research into the health needs of people sleeping rough in England and their vulnerability to Covid-19, and the approach taken to address the health and housing needs of this group during the pandemic. For this research, an analysis of new data sets was carried out, including: St Mungo’s Covid-19 assessment; data from St Mungo’s outreach teams on clients’ use of health services; St Mungo’s hotel health partnerships survey; and COVID-19 Homeless Rapid Integrated Screening Protocol (CHRISP) assessment. The study found that many people who came into the Everyone In hotel accommodation experienced improved outcomes in terms of their health, as well as their housing. Increased engagement with drug and alcohol services has been one of the clearest areas of improvement we have identified. The findings suggest there were two overarching factors driving improved health and accommodation outcomes amongst those helped under the Everyone In initiative. First, the provision of safe, clean ensuite accommodation alongside support to help address other problems. Second, the integrated working between health and homelessness teams during this period, and, as part of this, the increased in-reach by health services. This improved the continuity of care so people were less likely to slip through the cracks in service provision. The report makes a number of recommendations, calling on Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) to develop clear plans for delivering integrated housing, mental health and substance use treatment pathways for people sleeping rough.

Last updated on hub: 01 March 2021

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