COVID-19 resources

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Long-term care, residential facilities, and COVID-19: an overview of federal and state policy responses

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected residents and staff at long-term care (LTC) and other residential facilities in the United States. The high morbidity and mortality at these facilities has been attributed to a combination of a particularly vulnerable population and a lack of resources to mitigate the risk. During the first wave of the pandemic, the federal and state governments received urgent calls for help from LTC and residential care facilities; between March and early June of 2020, policymakers responded with dozens of regulatory and policy changes. This article provides an overview of these responses by first summarizing federal regulatory changes and then reviewing state-level executive orders. The policy and regulatory changes implemented at the federal and state levels can be categorized into the following 4 classes: (1) preventing virus transmission, which includes policies relating to visitation restrictions, personal protective equipment guidance, and testing requirements; (2) expanding facilities' capacities, which includes both the expansion of physical space for isolation purposes and the expansion of workforce to combat COVID-19; (3) relaxing administrative requirements, which includes measures enacted to shift the attention of caretakers and administrators from administrative requirements to residents' care; and (4) reporting COVID-19 data, which includes the reporting of cases and deaths to residents, families, and administrative bodies (such as state health departments). These policies represent a snapshot of the initial efforts to mitigate damage inflicted by the pandemic. Looking ahead, empirical evaluation of the consequences of these policies- including potential unintended effects - is urgently needed. The recent availability of publicly reported COVID-19 LTC data can be used to inform the development of evidence-based regulations, though there are concerns of reporting inaccuracies. Importantly, these data should also be used to systematically identify hot spots and help direct resources to struggling facilities.

Last updated on hub: 13 November 2020

Nursing home social workers perceptions of preparedness and coping for COVID-19

Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences

Objectives: Social work has a long history of responding to the needs of vulnerable populations during times of crisis and disaster. Social workers are working at the front lines responding to the current COVID-19 pandemic in a variety of health care practice settings, including nursing homes; however, it is unclear how social workers perceive their preparedness during this time. Methods: This study employed a cross-sectional survey to nursing home social workers via social media on feelings of preparedness for COVID-19, what has been most professionally helpful for social workers during these times in their role in COVID-19, as well as demographic questions. Demographic data were analyzed using SPSS and qualitative data were analyzed using the rigorous and accelerated data reduction technique. Results: Data are based on a sample of 63 (N = 63) nursing home social workers. Findings revealed that while some social workers felt prepared for the coronavirus, many respondents stated that they were unprepared to meet the demands and challenges they were facing. Moreover, participants shared that professional support was critically important to get through COVID-19. Discussion: These findings are important, as social workers are tasked with ensuring each resident attains their highest level of psychosocial well-being, which can be achieved only when nursing home staff are supported. Findings from the present study suggest that additional support for nursing home staff ought to include peer mentoring and mutual support. Additionally, improved leadership across health care settings is worth assessing.

Last updated on hub: 13 November 2020

Practical steps to improve air flow in long-term care resident rooms to reduce COVID-19 infection risk

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

The potential for spread of COVID-19 infections in skilled nursing facilities and other long-term care sites poses new challenges for nursing home administrators to protect patients and staff. It is anticipated that as acute care hospitals reach capacity, nursing homes may retain COVID-19 infected residents longer prior to transferring to an acute care hospital. This article outlines 5 pragmatic steps that long-term care facilities can take to manage airflow within resident rooms to reduce the potential for spread of infectious airborne droplets into surrounding areas, including hallways and adjacent rooms, using strategies adapted from negative-pressure isolation rooms in acute care facilities.

Last updated on hub: 13 November 2020

Lessons Learned - outbreaks of COVID-19 in nursing homes

Letter to the editor published in the American Journal of Infection Control on 30 July 2020. Provides five key lessons learned and guidance for preventing the introduction of COVID-19 into the local nursing homes, and subsequently preventing its spread within these facilities. Citation: Kim, J. J. et al. (2020). Lessons learned - Outbreaks of COVID-19 in nursing homes. American Journal of Infection Control.

Last updated on hub: 13 November 2020

World wide closed! Social worker field practice during the ‘lockdown’ period

Social Work Education (The International Journal)

The current health crisis we are experiencing because of Covid-19 pandemic has put social worker training facilities in a new, unexpected position. How can a practice-based training programme be organised during a ‘lockdown’ period? How can practical skills be acquired when contact field instructors, social services and target groups is limited?In order to face the professional challenges posed by the epidemic, to better understand the impact on professional training, and learn more about the innovations and good practices used to tackle the problems, the researchers organised focus group interviews with 15 field instructors and 15 students. The first results of the research provide evidence that, contrary to expectations, the world has not only narrowed but at the same time also expanded as a result of the restrictions. Although the outbreak of the COVID-19 has had a traumatic impact in many ways, the crisis had also positive consequences. With the intensive use of digital tools and forms of work, remote locations and target groups have become more accessible, special knowledge elements have been included in the training, and new opportunities for the development of personal skills have opened up in the education of social workers.

Last updated on hub: 12 November 2020

Telebehavioral practice basics for social worker educators and clinicians responding to COVID-19

Social Work Education (The International Journal)

Social Work’s Grand Challenge to Harness Technology for Social Good calls for educators to reevaluate their role and its significance for the future of social work. Information and communication technology (ICT)-mediated practice methods like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, gamification, and big data, among others, represent a new arena for social work practice. However, educators have been mostly inactive in developing curricula that support student knowledge, training, and decision-making on the adoption of technology for practice. In the United States, the Council on Social Work Education Futures Task Force highlighted this inaction as a matter of critical uncertainty for the field’s future. In contrast, this paper describes how a school of social work rapidly deployed a free, CE training program on the basics of telebehavioral health practice to the social work community to aid their response to COVID-19. The rapid deployment of that training has been distilled as ‘lessons learned’ for those wanting to join in efforts to address the field’s critical uncertainty regarding the adoption of technology. Information is presented about the reach of this training and includes feedback from participants. Additionally, the authors discuss whether COVID-19 can influence social work’s future rate of technology adoption.

Last updated on hub: 12 November 2020

Reflections on social work 2020 under Covid-19 online magazine

Social Work Education (The International Journal)

Social Work 2020 under Covid-19 was a free online magazine conceived just before the UK’s Covid-19 full lockdown began, in late March 2020. It ran for five editions until 14 July 2020. In this time it published close to 100 articles from academics, people with lived experience, practitioners and students. It contained a far higher proportion of submissions from the last three groups of contributors than traditional journals. This article draws on the six-person editorial collective’s reflections on the magazine: it considers its founding purposes; its role in fostering social work community, utilizing an adaptation of social capital classifications; and its potential as a learning tool. It concludes by arguing that the magazine illustrates the potential for free online publications to be an important emergent vehicle for ‘everyday activism’ within the field of social work.

Last updated on hub: 12 November 2020

Partnership working in the face of a pandemic crisis impacting on social work placement provision in England

Social Work Education (The International Journal)

The first quarter of 2020 saw unprecedented global, national, and local changes as the world adapted to a pandemic that swept the world at an alarming rate and prompted a policy of social exclusion and social distancing. Inevitably, the pandemic impacted upon social work education and placement provision significantly. The ability to respond to the impact of the pandemic crisis within social work placements will be presented as an unprecedented wicked problem. The ability to respond to this crisis can be argued to have demonstrated the worth of teaching partnerships, as the developed relationships and understanding of partner’s differing priorities enabled this to be undertaken effectively, efficiently, and expediently. This article will reflect on how the Leeds and Wakefield Social Work Teaching Partnership (LWSWTP) undertook responsive partnership decision-making to develop and implement new placement protocols. The article will also explore if partnership working with the stakeholders has been sufficiently robust, using the Arnstein’s 1969 Ladder of Participation. The article will conclude by reflecting on the key learning points from partnership working in the Covid-19 crisis situation as we move forward post crisis.

Last updated on hub: 12 November 2020

Isolation in the midst of a pandemic: social work students rapidly respond to community and field work needs

Social Work Education (The International Journal)

In the midst of a pandemic, many social work students are currently displaced from their field education, while the needs of their communities are exacerbated. Due to stay-at-home orders, the risk of experiencing social isolation and loneliness, already a major social problem prior to the crisis, has increased, especially for older adults. Seeking to step up in the context of a public emergency, graduate social work students in the United States created a project called GiftsofGab.org, which is a volunteer call-based companion coordination project that connects social work students with those in need of social interaction. This paper provides a case study of this project and argue that this kind of student-initiated action learning project can provide a workable alternative field placement model in times of crisis and is consistent with the community practice mission of social work.

Last updated on hub: 12 November 2020

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social work education and practice in the Netherlands

Social Work Education (The International Journal)

During the first half of 2020, the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus had a huge global impact. The physical health of many was (often severely) threatened and affected, resulting in numerous deaths. Furthermore, all aspects of human coexistence came under pressure, such as economic activities and material living conditions, psychological well-being and social contacts, human rights and democratic decision-making, international political relations and global solidarity. As in other parts of the world, COVID-19 kept the Netherlands in its grip. This article addresses the following questions:-What impact did pandemic and policy have on Dutch social work education and how was this experienced by students?-What was the impact of pandemic and policy on social work practices and what were its challenges for social professionals?-What does this all mean for the future of social work education, since it has to take the present concerns of students into account as well as prepare them for social work practice in the near future?

Last updated on hub: 12 November 2020