COVID-19 resources

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Social Care Sector: Covid-19 Support Taskforce: full recommendations - including all Advisory Group recommendations

Department of Health and Social Care

This document presents the full recommendations of the Social Care Sector COVID-19 Support Taskforce and the eight advisory groups. In response to COVID-19, the taskforce was commissioned, beginning its work on 15 June 2020 and completing its work at the end of August 2020, to provide advice and recommendations to government and the social care sector. Eight advisory groups were established to explore specific areas of care, namely: black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities; carers; good practice, guidance and innovation; mental health and wellbeing; older people and people living with dementia; people with learning disabilities and autistic people; self-directed support; and workforce. In addition to the specific themes of the advisory groups, the recommendations cover the key themes in the overall management of COVID-19 and social care, including personal protective equipment (PPE), testing, flu vaccine, workforce and carers, training, funding, evidence and guidance, communication, clinical support, movement of people between care and health settings, inspection and regulation, capacity, expertise and information, use of data and digital, and national, regional and local structures; the Care Home Support Plan; the Adult Social Care Action Plan; managing community outbreaks and the response of social care; key themes emerging from the taskforce advisory groups; and planning for the next phase of the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 21 September 2020

Social Care Taskforce: Workforce Advisory Group: report and recommendations

Department of Health and Social Care

This is the report of the Workforce Advisory Group, established to make recommendations to feed into the work of the Social Care Sector COVID -19 Support Taskforce. Two consistent themes have run throughout the work of the Advisory Group: the low priority given to planning and resource allocation for the workforce who support individual employers; and the importance of coherent and timely guidance which meets the needs of the workforce and their employers in their respective environments. The recommendations have been grouped as “top priority”, “highly important” and “important”. The top priorities cover: pay and recognition of the workforce; maintain the safety and wellbeing of our workforce; fully-fund measures to minimise staff movement and self-isolation; supporting workers’ mental and physical health; and maximise uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination.

Last updated on hub: 21 September 2020

Social care: coronavirus – can the catastrophe be a catalyst?: care report 2020


The Care Report 2020 sheds light on how the over-45s think and feel about adult social care, planning for future needs and costs of care and the implications of COVID-19. The report indicates that there is a widespread view among over-45s that the lack of progress on social care policy by successive governments has had an impact on how the social care sector and NHS have been able to respond to Covid-19. More than half said they thought it had made it harder for the care services to respond to the threat. Just around one in five thinks the government will put into practice a social care policy in this Parliament. A constant theme of the research findings is that there is broad agreement on what constitutes fairness in paying for care regardless of political affiliation. Across the political spectrum, most agree that if someone is unable to pay for care then the State should pay. Similar proportions say they think the State should pay for all care, regardless of how they voted at the 2019 General Election. There is no great difference in voter support for those who do and don’t back a cap on care costs. Critically, nearly four in five of over-45s said they had not thought about care, planned for it or spoken to family about it, further highlighting the urgency for a government policy. The report concludes by noting that worries about lack of progress towards a social care policy and a workable solution appear to outweigh concerns about the finer points of that solution.

Last updated on hub: 02 July 2020

Social care: time to grasp the nettle

NHS Confederation

This report, part of the NHS Reset campaign, explores the opportunities and challenges ahead for health and social care. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role that social care plays in the delivery of health and care services. But it has also exacerbated the underlying weaknesses in social care and demonstrated the need for fundamental reform. The report argues that four critical factors are needed to reset social care: a stable, well-funded social care service – without social care reform leading to a sustainable system the NHS will not be able to deliver high-quality care in the wake of the pandemic; a long-term plan for social care to address the imbalance that was already present in the social care service, as well as a fundamental review of the model of social care provided in England; a well-resourced and trained workforce – a national, integrated health and care workforce strategy would go some way to tackle the crippling workforce issues facing social care; and outcome-based commissioning – the NHS needs a joined-up approach to commissioning, with people at the forefront of local decisions.

Last updated on hub: 07 September 2020

Social connection in long-term care homes: a scoping review of published research on the mental health impacts and potential strategies during COVID-19

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

Objectives: Good social connection is associated with better health and wellbeing. However, social connection has distinct considerations for people living in long-term care (LTC) homes. The objective of this scoping review was to summarize research literature linking social connection to mental health outcomes, specifically among LTC residents, as well as research to identify strategies to help build and maintain social connection in this population during COVID-19. Design: Scoping review. Settings and Participants: Residents of LTC homes, care homes, and nursing homes. Methods: We searched MEDLINE(R) ALL (Ovid), CINAHL (EBSCO), PsycINFO (Ovid), Scopus, Sociological Abstracts (ProQuest), Embase and Embase Classic (Ovid), Emcare Nursing (Ovid), and AgeLine (EBSCO) for research that quantified an aspect of social connection among LTC residents; this study limited searches to English-language articles published from database inception to search date (July 2019). For the current analysis, this study included studies that reported (1) the association between social connection and a mental health outcome, (2) the association between a modifiable risk factor and social connection, or (3) intervention studies with social connection as an outcome. From studies in (2) and (3), this study identified strategies that could be implemented and adapted by LTC residents, families and staff during COVID-19 and included the articles that informed these strategies. Results: This study included 133 studies in the review. his study found 61 studies that tested the association between social connection and a mental health outcome. This study highlighted 12 strategies, informed by 72 observational and intervention studies, that might help LTC residents, families, and staff build and maintain social connection for LTC residents. Conclusions and Implications: Published research conducted among LTC residents has linked good social connection to better mental health outcomes. Observational and intervention studies provide some evidence on approaches to address social connection in this population. Although further research is needed, it does not obviate the need to act given the sudden and severe impact of COVID-19 on social connection in LTC residents.

Last updated on hub: 27 January 2021

Social connection in the COVID-19 crisis: initial report from the COVID-19 Inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration

British Future

This report from the APPG Inquiry on Social Integration presents findings from Part One of the Inquiry to better understand the issues experienced under the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Inquiry examined who is at risk of social isolation; the barriers and challenges in reaching and supporting socially isolated groups; and identified examples best practice in relation to social connectedness. The findings show that many different people are at risk of social isolation in the COVID-19 crisis, and that people experience social isolation differently. Whist the crisis resulted in people feeling a greater sense of belonging in their local community, it is not clear if this will last. The report also shows that digital exclusion is a particular risk of social isolation, so there is need to use non-digital forms of communication in initiatives to reduce isolation. The crisis has also seen an increase in volunteering, including 'mutual aid' volunteering, which bridges the gap between formal and informal volunteering. The report concludes with short-term and long-term recommendations for action during and after the pandemic. These include an expansion of 'Digital champion' schemes, where volunteers support those who lack digital skills and confidence. When the current crisis period ends, the APPG urges a long-term commitment from the Government, educational institutions, employers and civil society to reduce digital exclusion.

Last updated on hub: 18 May 2020

Social connection, loneliness and lockdown

Research In Practice: Dartington

Katy Shorten gives a comprehensive overview of loneliness and key messages from the literature for social care. The blog covers: identifying loneliness; the importance of social networks and activities; the role of technology; partnership working with organisations that support people and communities; building relationships; and being person-centred. The blog signposts to key evidence and resources.

Last updated on hub: 29 June 2020

Social distancing and social work field placements

Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning

The impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on social work practice placements around the world and in the United Arab Emirates is of concern to students, social work educators and service users. This practice note, focuses on the impact of the interruption to social work practice learning for students at the United Arab Emirates University and reflect on the introduction of 'social distancing', a health and safety strategy aimed at reducing the likelihood of the spread of the coronavirus. The paper proposes ways in which students in school placements can continue to develop their social work knowledge and skills ‘from a distance’ and while physically absent from their practice learning settings.

Last updated on hub: 17 April 2020

Social distancing in a social therapy environment

Therapeutic Communities: the International Journal of Therapeutic Communities

Purpose: This paper aims to describe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a prison-based therapeutic community (TC). Design/methodology/approach: The paper takes the form of a case study where the authors reflect on their current practice, using the findings of research on social isolation and the overarching TC principles to explore the effect of the pandemic on the TC at HMP Grendon. The authors consider how the residents and staff adjusted to the change as the parameters changed when the social distancing rules were imposed and how they adapted to the prolonged break to therapy. Sections in the paper were written by a resident and an operational member of staff. The authors conclude with their thoughts on how to manage the consequences the lockdown has brought and start to think about what returning to “normality” might mean. Findings: The paper describes the adjustments made by the residents and staff as the UK Government imposed the lockdown. The authors, including a resident and an operational member of staff comment on the psychological and practical impact these adjustments had. The thought is given to the idea of “recovery”, returning to “normality” and how this study can be best managed once restrictions are lifted. Research limitations/implications: At the time of writing, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at HMP Grendon. The measures and commitment from all staff and residents in the prison to keep the prison environment safe may in part account for this. This paper explores the effects of lockdown on the emotional environment in a TC and highlights the consequences that social isolation can have on any individual. To the authors’ knowledge, there is currently no research undertaken on the impact of lockdown/social isolation on a TC. This research would be useful, as the authors postulate from reflections on current practice that the effects of the lockdown will be greater in a social therapy environment. Originality/value: HMP Grendon started in 1962, as this time there have been no significant events that have meant the suspension of therapy for such a sustained period. It is, therefore, important that the impact of such is considered and reflected upon.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

Social isolation and psychological distress among older adults related to COVID-19: a narrative review of remotely-delivered interventions and recommendations

Journal of Applied Gerontology

The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with several short- and long-term negative impacts on the well-being of older adults. Physical distancing recommendations to reduce transmission of the SARS-CoV2-19 virus increase the risk of social isolation and loneliness, which are associated with negative outcomes including anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and mortality. Taken together, social isolation and additional psychological impacts of the pandemic (e.g., worry, grief) underscore the importance of intervention efforts to older adults. This narrative review draws upon a wide range of evidence to provide a comprehensive overview of appropriate remotely-delivered interventions for older adults that target loneliness and psychological symptoms. These include interventions delivered by a range of individuals (i.e., community members to mental health professionals), and interventions that vary by implementation (e.g., self-guided therapy, remotely-delivered interventions via telephone or video call). Recommendations to overcome barriers to implementation and delivery are provided, with consideration given to the different living situations.

Last updated on hub: 28 January 2021

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