COVID-19 resources

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Innovative response initiatives in the European Union to mitigate the effects of COVID-19

Journal of Enabling Technologies

Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the European Union (EU) through heavy pressure on health services, business activity and people's life. To mitigate these effects, government agencies, civil society and the private sector are working together in proposing innovative initiatives. In this sense, this study aims to characterize and explore the relevance of these projects to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Design/methodology/approach: The Observatory of Public Sector Innovation provided by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development was considered to enable the identification and exploration of innovative projects to combat COVID-19. A methodology based on mixed methods is adopted to initially identify quantitatively the distribution of these projects, followed by a qualitative approach based on thematic analysis that allows exploring their relevance. Findings: A total of 206 initiatives in the EU have been identified. The distribution of these projects is quite asymmetric, with Portugal and Austria totaling 33.52% of these projects. Most of these projects focus on the areas of public health, infection detection and control, virtual education, local commerce, digital services literacy, volunteering and solidarity and hackathons. Originality/value: This work is relevant to identifying and understanding the various areas in which COVID-19 initiatives have been developed. This information is of great relevance for the actors involved in this process to be able to replicate these initiatives in their national, regional and local contexts.

Last updated on hub: 22 June 2021

Nurse practitioners rising to the challenge during the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in long-term care homes

Gerontologist

Background and Objectives: There is an urgency to respond to the longstanding deficiencies in health human resources in the long-term care (LTC) home sector, which have been laid bare by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Nurse practitioners (NPs) represent an efficient solution to human resource challenges. During the current pandemic, many Medical Directors in LTC homes worked virtually to reduce the risk of transmission. In contrast, NPs were present for in-person care. This study aims to understand the NPs’ roles in optimizing resident care and supporting LTC staff during the pandemic. Research Design and Methods: This exploratory qualitative study employed a phenomenological approach. A purposive sample of 14 NPs working in LTC homes in Ontario, Canada, was recruited. Data were generated using semistructured interviews and examined using thematic analysis. Results: Four categories relating to the NPs’ practices and experiences during the pandemic were identified: (a) containing the spread of COVID-19, (b) stepping in where needed, (c) supporting staff and families, and (d) establishing links between fragmented systems of care by acting as a liaison. Discussion and Implications: The findings suggest that innovative models of care that include NPs in LTC homes are required moving forward. NPs embraced a multitude of roles in LTC homes, but the need to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 was central to how they prioritized their days. The pandemic clearly accentuated that NPs have a unique scope of practice, which positions them well to act as leaders and build capacity in LTC homes.

Last updated on hub: 22 June 2021

ADASS activity survey 2021

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

The ADASS survey was carried out in March and April and was completed by more than 90 Director of Adult Social Services, almost two-thirds of the total. They were asked how need for care and support compared with last November, less than six months previously. Of those who responded: 69% said more people were being referred for support from the community, almost half of them reporting a rise of more than 10% over the six months; 68% said more people were presenting with mental health issues; 57% said more people with care and support needs were seeking help for domestic abuse or safeguarding; 35% said they were seeing more rough sleepers needing support. The findings point to the strain that family carers have been under during the pandemic. Of responding directors, 67% said they were seeing more people seeking help because of breakdown in carer arrangements – 27% reporting a rise of more than 10%. The survey also shows the inter-dependence of social care and the NHS in the wider health and care system. Of responding directors, 48% said they were being asked to support more people awaiting admission to hospital and 75% said they were dealing with more people being discharged and asking for help from their local council – 55% reporting a rise of more than 10% in numbers of requests following discharge over the six months.

Last updated on hub: 22 June 2021

Inequalities in healthcare disruptions during the Covid-19 pandemic: evidence from 12 UK population-based longitudinal studies

medRxiv

Background: Health systems worldwide have faced major disruptions due to COVID-19 which could exacerbate health inequalities. The UK National Health Service (NHS) provides free healthcare and prioritises equity of delivery, but the pandemic may be hindering the achievement of these goals. We investigated associations between multiple social characteristics (sex, age, occupational social class, education and ethnicity) and self-reported healthcare disruptions in over 65,000 participants across twelve UK longitudinal studies. Methods: Participants reported disruptions from March 2020 up to late January 2021. Associations between social characteristics and three types of self-reported healthcare disruption (medication access, procedures, appointments) and a composite of any of these were assessed in logistic regression models, adjusting for age, sex and ethnicity where relevant. Random-effects meta-analysis was conducted to obtain pooled estimates. Results: Prevalence of disruption varied across studies; between 6.4% (TwinsUK) and 31.8 % (Understanding Society) of study participants reported any disruption. Females (Odd Ratio (OR): 1.27 [95%CI: 1.15,1.40]; I2=53%), older persons (e.g. OR: 1.39 [1.13,1.72]; I2=77% for 65-75y vs 45-54y), and Ethnic minorities (excluding White minorities) (OR: 1.19 [1.05,1.35]; I2=0% vs White) were more likely to report healthcare disruptions. Those in a more disadvantaged social class (e.g. OR: 1.17 [1.08, 1.27]; I2=0% for manual/routine vs managerial/professional) were also more likely to report healthcare disruptions, but no clear differences were observed by education levels. Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unequal healthcare disruptions, which, if unaddressed, could contribute to the maintenance or widening of existing health inequalities.

Last updated on hub: 22 June 2021

Children’s social care questionnaires 2021

Findings from online surveys to gather views about children’s homes, secure children’s homes, adoption services, fostering services, residential family centres, boarding schools, residential special schools and further education colleges. In 2021, the surveys were open between 1 February and 28 March. We received 49,113 individual responses, 7,011 of which were from children. This was a very small increase of responses from children compared with last year. But overall, there was an increase of 7,476 responses from children and adults compared with 2020. Key findings include: while a lot of children said that they would like COVID-19 (coronavirus) to ‘go away’, they commented that they felt they had been helped to adjust to the restrictions by the people who cared for them; a lower proportion of children in boarding schools and in residential accommodation in further education felt they were well cared for compared with the children who lived or stayed elsewhere; ninety-nine per cent of children in foster care who responded to the survey felt safe where they lived; there was an increase in the number of children in boarding school and in residential accommodation in further education who felt they were not helped to do well with their school or college work; a theme within the responses this year was children saying that they wished they could stay where they were for longer and that they did not have to move on when they were 18.

Last updated on hub: 21 June 2021

Covid-19, vulnerability and the safeguarding of criminally exploited children

University of Nottingham

This is the third briefing from research investigating the impacts of Covid-19 on child criminal exploitation and county lines. The focus of this briefing is on identifying trends that professionals have witnessed more recently, and as a result of longer-term lockdown measures. Thirteen interviews were undertaken with practitioners working in care and safeguarding roles in both statutory and non-statutory organisations, and a security manager of a leading car rental company. These were supplemented by 29 interviews with practitioners from law enforcement, local authorities and NGO’s which were conducted during the first two quarters of the project. Participants were asked to reflect on their personal experiences of working during the pandemic, its effect on their ability to safeguard young people criminally exploited through county lines, and wider impacts they observed related to the county lines model. As the UK transitions out of lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, this study highlights ongoing concerns, which include: reduced identification of exploitation – diminished face-to-face contact between youth workers and children continues to challenge professionals’ ability to identify signs of exploitation and there is concern that many children remain in dangerous and exploitative situations both within and away from their homes; online exploitation and grooming – as young people continue to spend more time online and on social media platforms, there is an increased risk of online grooming for both criminal and sexual exploitation; vulnerability – the overall level of county lines activity was mostly unchanged during the pandemic, and the widespread exploitation of children persisted. Mental health has deteriorated among already vulnerable children and there are indications that substance misuse and self-harm are on the rise.

Last updated on hub: 21 June 2021

Working in a care home during the COVID-19 pandemic: How has the pandemic changed working practices?

medRxiv

The aim of this research was to explore the impact of COVID-19 on the working practices of care home staff, caring for people living with dementia. Remote qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with care home staff caring for people living with dementia (PLWD) in the UK. Participants were recruited to the larger programme of research via convenience sampling. Interviews were conducted via telephone or online platforms. This research employed inductive thematic analysis. Sixteen care home staff were included in this study. Three overarching themes were developed from the analysis that conveyed changes to the everyday working practices of the care home workforce and the impact such changes posed to staff wellbeing: (1) Practical implications of working in a care home during the COVID-19 pandemic; (2); Staff values and changes to the staff roles (3): Impact to the care home staff and concerns for the care sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the daily working practices of care home staff, with staff forced to adopt additional roles on top of increased workloads to compensate for the loss of external agencies and support. Support and guidance must be offered urgently to inform care home staff on how to best adapt to their new working practices, ensuring that they are adequately trained.

Last updated on hub: 21 June 2021

SEND: old issues, new issues, next steps

Ofsted

A report about the experiences of children and young people with SEND and their families during the pandemic, in the context of the SEND reforms over the last ten years. Through our research visits to local areas, schools, early years settings, children’s services providers and further education and skills providers in the autumn term 2020, we found that children and young people with SEND were often not receiving education. Some important healthcare, such as physiotherapy, had also ceased. This left children and young people immobile and sometimes in pain. A lack of speech and language therapy, or communication devices not being available, left them unable to communicate properly. Social care and health-funded respite provision for families had also not been available. Parents and carers told us of their frustration and exhaustion, and sometimes of their despair. A few had found that the relative calm of being at home through the first lockdown had been beneficial for their children. However, this was more unusual. When schools and colleges opened fully to all pupils in September 2020, not all those with SEND returned. By the time of the third national lockdown in spring 2021, we heard even greater concerns from parents and carers in the 4 local areas we visited than we had in 2020. The issues that were raised in the autumn term visits to local areas – a lack of health and care provision, inconsistent provision from schools, long waiting times for assessments – continued. Many parents expressed concerns about the now-evident impact of these issues on their children and on their own physical and mental health. Although there were areas where professionals managed to adapt well and where different parts of the system worked together effectively, it is evident that children and young people with SEND are now even more vulnerable than they were before.

Last updated on hub: 21 June 2021

Making vaccination a condition of deployment in care homes: government response

Department of Health and Social Care

Government response to findings from a consultation on a proposal to make COVID-19 vaccination a condition of deployment in older adult care homes. The consultation asked for views on whether people supported the proposed legislative change, the scope of the policy, proposed exemptions, implementation methods; and sought views on equality impacts and impact on maintaining safe levels of staffing and the workforce. Overall, the consultation showed that, while a majority (57%) of respondents did not support the proposal, the responses from the adult social care sector were mixed, with some group, for example care home providers mostly supporting the proposed legislative change while others, such as service users and relatives of service users were mostly opposed. Based on feedback received during the consultation, the Government made three key changes to the proposals set out in the original consultation document: it is extending the scope of the policy to all CQC-registered care homes, in England, which provide accommodation for persons who require nursing or personal care, not just those care homes which have at least one person over the age of 65 living in their home; it is extending the requirement to be vaccinated to include all persons who enter a care home, regardless of their role (excluding those that have medical exemptions; residents of that care home; friends and family of residents who are visiting; those entering to assist with an emergency or carrying out urgent maintenance work; and those under the age of 18); it will provide exemptions for those entering to assist with an emergency or carrying out urgent maintenance work; and clinical trial participants.

Last updated on hub: 21 June 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for anyone working in adult social care who are not part of regular testing at work and unpaid carers

Department of Health and Social Care

This guidance explains how anyone working in adult social care in England who is not part of a regular testing regime at work can access twice-weekly COVID-19 testing. This includes staff working in adult social care who are not part of regular testing at work, for example Shared Lives carers, personal assistants, social workers; and unpaid carers. The guidance states that they should order a box of 7 lateral flow tests (LFTs) every 21 days, or an employer should order test kits on their behalf; they should take a test twice a week and register them online; if they receive a positive lateral flow test result they should order and conduct a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test immediately, isolate until they receive a result, and notify your employer. This document updates earlier the guidance 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for personal assistants'.

Last updated on hub: 21 June 2021

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