COVID-19 resources

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Effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on refugee communities

House of Commons Library

A short debate pack with background material, press articles, government publications and parliamentary proceedings relevant to a parliamentary debate on the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on refugee communities.

Last updated on hub: 11 November 2020

Risk identification and virtual interventions for social workers

Social Care Institute for Excellence

This quick guide will help social workers and practitioners understand how to gather evidence to be able to identify and assess risks normally gathered through observation.

Last updated on hub: 11 November 2020

Written statement: Covid-19 asymptomatic testing programme for care homes

Welsh Government

A statement by the Minister for Health and Social Services in Wales informing of the decision to enable statutory partners to determine whether testing should be weekly or fortnightly in care homes in their local areas using their professional judgement informed by the data and local intelligence. The statement recognises the importance of continuing to provide some flexibility regarding the frequency of testing, to respond to the incidence and transmission in the wider local communities.

Last updated on hub: 11 November 2020

How has Covid-19 and the associated lockdown measures affected mental health and wellbeing in the UK?

What Works Centre for Wellbeing

This briefing provides insights into how mental health conditions have changed as a result of Covid-19 and what the risk factors are that need to be recognised when supporting people’s mental health. It draws on data of more than 70,000 people as part of the COVID-19 Social Study, which is run by University College London. Key messages include: anxiety and depression increased in the UK as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, with people’s mental health affected by both adverse experiences regarding their health, jobs and finances as well as worries about what might happen in the future – anxiety and depression have fallen since the highs seen at the start of lockdown but remain above pre-pandemic levels; anxiety and depression have been highest among young adults, those living alone, those living in urban areas, and people with lower household income, with children, and with a diagnosed mental illness; outdoor exercise and gardening can improve our mental health, while spending too much time following the news can be harmful.

Last updated on hub: 10 November 2020

A national Covid-19 resilience programme: improving the health and wellbeing of older people during the pandemic

This report makes the case for a National Covid-19 Resilience Programme to support older people in preparing themselves for the continuation of the pandemic and to keep them healthy over the winter. With the pandemic showing no sign of abating, it is important to ensure that older people are able to feel more control over their lives, and that they receive clearer guidance about how best to protect themselves physiologically. Covid-19 disease severity rises with age and is also associated with comorbidities, such as obesity, diabetes and coronary vascular disease, that can accompany chronological age. Home confinement in older people may cause (i) cardiorespiratory and metabolic deconditioning, (ii) insulin resistance, (iii) muscle loss and (iv) increased fat mass. In addition, social isolation may be worsened. In the absence of vaccines and treatments, physical activity (with tailored exercise or physical activity goals) represents the single most impactful way in which older people can reduce the risk of developing severe Covid-19, improve recovery, and limit deconditioning and frailty from home confinement. The report argues that a resilience programme should: encourage appropriate exercise and physical activity; support optimal nutrition; enhance mental health and wellbeing; support behaviour change to embed these behaviours. This programme might be supported by a digital platform and by national broadcasters, e.g. regular televised activity classes.

Last updated on hub: 10 November 2020

Behind the headlines: time to bring our care workers in from the cold

Age UK

This report highlights the extent to which the Covid-19 crisis has thrown into sharp relief how poorly care workers are supported to do their work. Staff shortages, lack of protective equipment, and poor pay and conditions have left many exhausted mentally and physically, challenging their ability to continue to deliver high quality care. Despite being roughly equivalent in size to the NHS workforce, the 1.65 million strong care workforce has seen limited support put in place. While the NHS has been prioritised for PPE, testing, mental health support, priority access to shops and pay rises, offers to social care have been more limited and have generally only arrived very late in the day. The report calls on the Government to rebuild the care system with properly funded and thoroughgoing reform, to ensure care work become an attractive and properly paid career, its terms and conditions on a par with the same jobs carried out in the NHS.

Last updated on hub: 10 November 2020

Lockdown. Rundown. Breakdown. The COVID-19 lockdown and the impact of poor-quality housing on occupants in the North of England

Northern Housing Consortium

This report has been produced to document the experiences of households living in poor-quality, ‘non-decent’ accommodation in the UK – with a specific focus on households in the North of England – during the height of the UK lockdown. It draws on rapidly produced primary research undertaken between May and July 2020. It involved semi-structured interviews with 40 residents from privately rented housing, ten residents from owner-occupied housing and eight key actors/professionals. The study also used a short survey to capture the views and experiences of people who preferred not to be interviewed. The findings reveal that: households were living with longstanding repair and quality issues – lockdown had ultimately worsened such conditions and impaired people’s ability to live with those conditions; many longstanding repair and quality issues were described as worsening throughout lockdown because social distancing measures prohibited contractors from entering the home; renters were having to draw on their own incomes, savings and credit to cope with the costs associated with their poor conditions, which further entrenched people in the private rented sector; the vast majority of renters had not considered the possibility of asking landlords for rent reductions when questioned during interviews; private renters were under-reporting the repairs that were needed to their homes; overcrowding was an issue most households were experiencing, with entire households living, working and spending time in the same housing space; conversely, people who lived by themselves discussed feeling isolated and lonely in the weeks when contact with family and friends was restricted to online video call facilities. There is an opportunity to learn from the first few months of the COVID-19 lockdown and take urgent action for the short, medium and long term to ensure that the housing crisis, which has been so frequently identified, does not lead to systemic or personal breakdown.

Last updated on hub: 10 November 2020

Lockdown. Rundown. Breakdown. The COVID-19 lockdown and the impact of poor-quality housing on occupants in the North of England. Policy briefing

Northern Housing Consortium

This report looks at the impact living in poor-quality accommodation had on Northern households during the pandemic. The study highlights the following five main impacts: existing poor conditions are worsening, leading to longer-periods living in non-decent accommodation; renters are under-reporting repair issues and concerns out of fear of eviction and rent increases; there is likely to be a backlog of major repairs to deal with over the coming months; there is an increase in energy use, due to more people spending more time at home – these costs are causing increased anxiety to a wider range of households; households feel financially insecure and renters feel insecure in their tenancies. The report calls for urgent action this winter and longer-term policy responses to ensure that the condition of and access to existing homes is treated as a priority equal to the importance of the supply of new homes.

Last updated on hub: 10 November 2020

COVID-19: guidance for the support and wellbeing of adult social workers and social care professionals in a pandemic crisis

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

This guidance is aimed at all social care practitioners and their managers who are responsible for providing services to adults in the community during the pandemic. It draws on and acknowledges approaches to thinking about and working with organisational challenges informed by understanding the impact of emotions and the unconscious on individual and organisational responses to those challenges. It situates the current challenge for health and social care in the context of understanding the centrality of relationships in this work and the operation of individual and organisational defences drawing from psychoanalytic, systems and attachment theories. It therefore addresses some of the emotional, psychological and psycho-social factors bought about by the global pandemic. The impact of this is acknowledged and a range of recommendations for managers and staff are made.

Last updated on hub: 10 November 2020

Canadian reflections on the Covid-19 pandemic in social work education: from tsunami to innovation

Social Work Education (The International Journal)

Looking back, the first wave of the pandemic was about to hit us and we could not know the impact then; the pedagogic, the emotional/human/relational, and the collaborative. Immediate modifications required pedagogy and pandemic balancing, prioritizing student safety. These reflections of three academics in leadership roles in the Faculty of Social Work faculty at a large university in western Canada, span from mid-March to early May, 2020 as COVID-19 approached. The reflections consider social work education comprehensively, as an integrated system. This article recounts the human and emotional nature of experience; approaches to interacting and collaborating with colleagues, partners, and stakeholders; ways of innovating on local, provincial, and national levels; and examples of how core social work values guided our work. The article suggests we embraced technology and found energy in innovation through collaboration about pedagogic decisions. It is here among innovation and collaboration, that we discovered our strengths and gained confidence to move forward. This manuscript provided an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which this crisis has forced openness to innovation toward the future of social work education. It also serves as a call to other schools and faculties of social work to share their reflections.

Last updated on hub: 09 November 2020