COVID-19 resources

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Video calls for reducing social isolation and loneliness in older people: a rapid review (Review)


A rapid review to assess the effectiveness of video calls for reducing social isolation and loneliness in older adults. The review also sought to address the effectiveness of video calls on reducing symptoms of depression and improving quality of life. Selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi‐RCTs (including cluster designs) were eligible for inclusion. Main results: Three cluster quasi-randomised trials, which together included 201 participants were included in this review. The included studies compared video call interventions to usual care in nursing homes. None of these studies were conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each study measured loneliness using the UCLA Loneliness Scale. The evidence was very uncertain and suggests that video calls may result in little to no difference in scores on the Geriatric Depression Scale compared to usual care at three months' follow-up. Conclusion: Based on this review there is currently very uncertain evidence on the effectiveness of video call interventions to reduce loneliness in older adults. The review did not include any studies that reported evidence of the effectiveness of video call interventions to address social isolation in older adults. The evidence regarding the effectiveness of video calls for outcomes of symptoms of depression was very uncertain. Future research in this area needs to use more rigorous methods and more diverse and representative participants.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Responsive technical help: digitally supporting users of respite care during COVID-19

The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services

This document signposts to sources of online information and guidance specifically related to COVID-19, to help people access daily living support and respite care provided locally, nationally and globally using websites and other communication tools. There are genuine and growing concerns about service users and carers potentially becoming socially isolated. Households may also be missing more informal respite help normally given by family and friends as well as professional services. With an increased burden of caring and trying to cope with rising expenses during lockdown, carers can feel overwhelmed, exhausted and are at increased risk of burnout. Focusing on digital support for users of respite care, the resource links to practical advice and information, covering : emerging COVID-19 issues; poverty and digital exclusion; virtual respite care (connectivity; training; group activities; personalisation apps; sharing one device with multiple people; parental controls; accessibility; video calls; data usage and mobile data/wi-fi); communication passports; government and official advice; health; and education.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Understanding the needs of young carers in the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic

University of East Anglia

Presents the finding of a study to gain a rapid and holistic understanding of the issues facing young carers in the COVID-19 crisis. Semi structured interviews were conducted with eight young carers, five young adult carers, three parents of young carers and four youth workers. The findings are structured around the following five themes: complexity of care; increase in caring role; external support; education; mental health and managing the stress. They suggest that no two young carers are alike, nor is the complexity of the care they provide or the context within which they provide that care. Each of the youth workers that took part in the study said that the caring responsibilities for older carers had increased exponentially during the pandemic. The restrictions in place through social distancing have further compounded an uneasy relationship with health and social care services, with poor communication and a lack of awareness of the needs of young carers. A strong desire for the routine and respite of school was prominent throughout the young carer interviews – some of the young carers were struggling to manage the requirements of home learning and felt that this was disproportionate to that of their peers who did not have caring responsibilities. In addition, the increase of pressure and stress for young carers was palpable within many of the interviews. The report sets out the implications for policy and practice, urging to continue to raise awareness of young carers and young adult carers, particularly within educational settings which can act as a sanctuary and a safeguard for them.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

How Covid-19 is affecting the mental health of young people in the BAME community


This data insights report focuses on mental health among our black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) children and young people on Kooth, a mental health support platform. The report indicates that Kooth service users from BAME backgrounds are showing higher levels of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety than white service users compared to the same time period in 2019. Specifically, suicidal thoughts among BAME youth increased by 27 per cent under lockdown; depression increased by 9 per cent; self-harm concerns were up by 30 per cent on previous year; anxiety and stress have seen an 11 per cent increase among BAME young people who also experienced a 27 per cent increase in issues around family relationships.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Children in lockdown: the consequences of the coronavirus crisis for children living in poverty

The Childhood Trust

Draws together emerging evidence to highlight some of the most pressing concerns that government and third sector organisations need to address to mitigate the effects on children of the COVID-19 crisis. The report explores six dimensions: emotional and physical abuse; mental health concerns; educational learning loss; hunger and food insecurity; homelessness and temporary housing risks; and playtime and well-being. Key messages include: the lockdown increases the opportunity for children to witness domestic abuse and/or endure emotional or physical abuse at the hands of their family members; children and young people are reporting higher instances of depression, anxiety, and loneliness, compared to older cohorts; with the majority of children and young people transitioning to remote learning during the pandemic, students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to fall behind and experience educational learning loss as they have limited access to technology; the closure of schools has meant that many children and young people living in poverty are suffering hunger and malnutrition, and the voucher system that the government rolled out is not adequately responding to this challenge; practising social distancing and staying safe and health is significantly more difficult for families and children that experience homelessness and/or are living in temporary housing; the physical well-being and the ability to play is of crucial importance for the health of children and young people.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

COVID-19: expectations and effects on children online


This report looks at the expectations and effects that COVID-19 has had towards children online. In the face of the restrictions imposed by governments during the pandemic, and to maintain some form of normality, people turned to technology and the Internet for work, socialising, entertainment and learning. This digital migration has had an impact on children too – the increased use of online platforms comes with associated increased risks for children’s safety, eloquently highlighted by many experts and agencies. The report emphasises that the early evidence indicates that whilst many children have access to technology and connectivity, this is not universal and the ‘digital divide’ will have an impact; in terms of child sexual abuse content online, there has been an increase of individuals searching for child sexual abuse content, alongside an increase in access to adult content online; children have reported greater anxiety associated with the pandemic and restrictions; parents are anxious that their children’s education will be impacted. The paper concludes by arguing that policymakers will need to consider and accommodate the impacts of COVID-19 on children for many years to come.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Exploiting isolation: offenders and victims of online child sexual abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic

European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation

This report examines activities involving the sexual abuse and exploitation of children online and related offline crimes with a particular focus on how offenders have used their time during COVID-19 confinement to increase children’s vulnerability. The findings of this report are mainly based on contributions from Member States and Europol’s partner countries and input from a number of organisations. Key findings are: there have been significant increases in activity relating to child sexual abuse and exploitation on both the surface web and dark web during the COVID-19 lockdown period; travel restrictions and other measures during the pandemic have likely prevented offenders from travelling and so have shifted their focus to the exchange of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online; an increase in the number of offenders exchanging CSAM online during lockdown may have an impact on and stimulate demand for this type of material online beyond the lockdown; increases in detection and reporting of CSAM on the surface web during lockdown indicate the level of re-victimisation of children through the distribution of images and videos depicting them; consistent levels of activity by offenders on the dark web during lockdown reflects the ongoing organised business model that has evolved and the level of threat that it poses to children; society, including law enforcement, needs to focus on the self-generation of CSAM to ensure that children are protected from this type of exposure to harm; the increased circulation of CSAM during the COVID-19 pandemic will also increase the need for law enforcement to identify the victims depicted in it; it is critical to continue to promote preventive and educational initiatives in a coordinated and structural manner across Europe.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Helping adult day centres to ‘unlock lockdown’. Part 1: planning practically for re-opening

King's College London

This document covers some of the practicalities of re-opening adult day centres as COVID-19 control measures are eased. It draws on guidance related to the pandemic, on broader guidance relating to social care, and relevant advice and action points for regulated settings (such as early years day care and care homes), some of which is also relevant to adult day centres. There is strong evidence that attending a day centre brings quality of life and so, despite risks, enabling people to have the choice of going to a day centre is something worthwhile. The document covers: infection control; communications; supporting service users, carers, staff and volunteers, and centre managers and coordinators; final things that managers and coordinators are likely to want to consider doing before re-opening; practical scenario planning tool. Part 2 of these guidance prompts reflection on what has happened during lockdown, what else centre managers and coordinators may wish to think about, the process of moving forwards and any learning that will be helpful for the future. Individual sections can be completed according to the stage you are in.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Verification of Expected Death (VOED) with clinical remote support: guidance for adult social care workers: consultation version

Skills for Care

This guidance is primarily for adult social care providers in residential and community settings, outlining the process and procedures for verifying an expected death with remote clinical support. It is designed to support decision making within local systems and explains how to prepare to verify an expected death with remote support. The Coronavirus Act 2020 and recent government guidance makes special arrangements for verifying an expected death with clinical remote support in a community setting, such as care homes, supported living accommodation or when a person receives care in their own home. The guide covers: what providers and managers need to think about beforehand to inform decision making about verifying expected death with clinical remote support and who to involve; information to support decision making of whether care staff will verify a person’s death with remote support; the process of verifying an expected death with remote support; what to consider after the process, care of the deceased and the family and the importance of employee wellbeing and support for those involved, including sources of support.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Helping adult day centres to ‘unlock lockdown’. Part 2: reflecting about what has happened, our ‘journey’ during closure and the future of our service

King's College London

This tool prompts adult day centre managers and coordinators to reflect on what has happened during COVID-19 lockdown, the process of moving forwards and any learning that will be helpful for the future. There is strong evidence that day centres are valued by the people who attend and that they improve their quality of life. They help people to stay living at home and provide family members with help in their caring role. They play an important part in preventing loneliness and social isolation. They can also be part of the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The reflective points suggested in this tool may help mangers and coordinators think about the reasons for making this effort to restarting the recovery journey. Part 1 of this guidance covers some of the practicalities of re-opening, focusing on infection control, communications, supporting service users, carers, staff and volunteers, and planning.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020