COVID-19 resources

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Social work assessments for people with advanced dementia in “the new normal”

Working with Older People

Purpose: Social work involves working directly with people who are experiencing a crisis. An assessment is carried out to establish the best way forward and then reviewed after a period of time to measure success or recalibrate the service. The current pandemic restrictions have all but ruled out meeting with people face-to-face. Now, professionals are usually required to don some form of personal protective equipment (PPE) when meeting with people and their families. Talking to an unknown professional who is behind a mask or on the telephone, about a personal issue is hard for everyone, but it is particularly difficult for people who may be further on in their dementia journey. Design/methodology/approach: Critique. Findings: These impediments impact the social work assessment and review, meaning people may not have the quality of service they need and may end up paying for unnecessary provision. If admission to a care home is deemed necessary, the stakes rise considerably. A care home admission means contributing towards fees with pensions, savings and assets, including housing. Now, it comes with an additional health risk. Originality/value: COVID-19 infection has impacted on the older population but residents in care homes with frailer physical health, cognitive impairment and delirium are at particularly high risk of dying.

Last updated on hub: 29 December 2020

Caught between two fronts: successful aging in the time of COVID-19

Working with Older People

Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic poses a great challenge for older people both in terms of the severity of the disease and the negative consequences of social distancing. Assumptions about negative effects on the lives of the elderly, affecting dimensions of successful aging (such as the preservation of social relationships), have thus far been hypothetical and have lacked empirical evidence. The aim of this paper is to shed empirical light on the effects of COVID-19 on the everyday life of older people against the background of the concept of successful aging. Design/methodology/approach: Data of a standardized, representative telephone survey with residents of Lower Austria, a county of Austria, were used for this secondary analysis. The sample included 521 persons of 60 years of age and older. For this paper, contingency analyses (χ² coefficients, z-tests using Bonferroni correction) and unidimensional correlational analyses were calculated. Findings: The empirical data show that successful aging along the three dimensions of successful aging is a challenge in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic – leaving the elderly caught between two fronts. Originality/value: The present work focusses on a unique moment in time, describing the changes to the lives of Austrian elderly because of the social distancing measures imposed to protect against the spread of COVID-19. These changes are discussed in the theoretical framework of successful aging.

Last updated on hub: 29 December 2020

Misunderstandings about older people fuel corona virus complacency

Working with Older People

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore public assumptions underlying the apparent disregard for the lives of older people during the coronavirus outbreak. It attempts to dispel myths about quality of life among older people. Design/methodology/approach: This paper integrates the author’s personal experiences as a doctor with data collection, which involved general PubMed searches for articles relating to the public response to the effect of coronavirus on older people; beliefs about the lives of older people; and issues of happiness, contentedness and quality of life in older people. Findings: Some people have concluded that the lives of older people – which they believe to be of low quality – are worth risking to lessen the economic impact of coronavirus. This morbid calculation is based in part on the assumption that older people are less happy than younger people. In fact, the evidence shows that as people get older, they become significantly happier. Originality/value: This paper asks readers to explore their assumptions about ageing and reaffirms the importance of protecting older people in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 29 December 2020

Older peoples’ sacrifice during COVID-19 pandemic

Working with Older People

Purpose: This paper aims to reflect on the roles that are socially attributed to older people in the COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach: A discourse analysis of World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for older people and news articles to explore their concepts about this population during COVID-19. Findings: The author’s interpretation suggests that the WHO provides a restrictive model of action for older people in the pandemic. The history of these people is not valued, and their actions are limited to the maintenance of biological life. This restriction can lead to sacrificial behavior models depicted in the news, demanding a reconceptualization of the notion of older people. Originality/value: The public model of older people is dangerous for this population during COVID19. The care for older people in this pandemic demands that we co-construct an active role with them for this crisis.

Last updated on hub: 29 December 2020

Technological advancements to address elderly loneliness: practical considerations and community resilience implications for COVID-19 pandemic

Working with Older People

Purpose: Loneliness has been a known severe public health concern among the elderly population during the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper aims to discuss the practicalities of using emerging technologies to address elderly loneliness and its implications and adaptations to the outbreak of corona virus disease–2019. Design/methodology/approach: The authors draw on examples from the literature and their own observations from working with older adults, to provide an overview of possible ways technology could help this population in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Findings: Technological advancements have offered remarkable opportunities to deliver care and maintain connections despite the need to stay physically separated. These tools can be integrated into crisis communications, public health responses and care programs to address loneliness among the elderly. However, it must be done strategically and informed by the type of loneliness at play, environmental factors, socioeconomics and technological literacy. Practical implications: Care-providing organizations and policymakers should consider the risk of loneliness while responding to COVID-19 outbreak, particularly within elderly populations. As a part of a broader plan, technological solutions and low-tech approaches can make a difference in mitigating loneliness. Solutions should be accessible to and usable by older adults. Provision of equipment, training and guidance may be necessary to execute a technology-centric plan; for some communities and individuals, approaches that do not rely on advanced technology may be more effective. Originality/value: Technological advancements can be a valuable tool in addressing known public health concerns, such as loneliness among the elderly populations. However, the use of this tool should be governed by the specific situation at hand, taking into consideration individual needs and environmental factors, especially the compounded effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Different technological programs and approaches are appropriate for different types of loneliness. For example, online therapy such as internet-based cognitive behavior therapy may mitigate loneliness caused by fear and online interaction such as videoconferencing may relieve loneliness caused by lack of social engagement.

Last updated on hub: 29 December 2020

Dying in lockdown

Working with Older People

Purpose: This study aims to share a personal viewpoint on the hardship imposed by lockdown measure. Design/methodology/approach: A personal experience of losing a loved one during the Covid-19 lockdown in England. Findings: The costs of lockdown go far beyond the economic ones. Originality/value: A unique, personal perspective.

Last updated on hub: 29 December 2020

The effect of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on health-related quality of life in children

Children and Youth Services Review

Introduction: The study was conducted to examine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on health-related quality of life in children. Materials and methods: The study was conducted with 597 children aged 7–13 and their parents using the online data collection tool via social media. Socio-demographic form and Generic Health-related Quality of Life Questionnaire for Children (Kid-KINDL) were used to collect the data. SPSS 23.0 program, descriptive statistics, Mann-Whitney U test and Kruskal-Wallis variance analysis were used to evaluate the data. Results: During the pandemic, 41.5% of the parents stated that their child gained weight, tendency to sleep of 34.2% and tendency to use the Internet of 69.3% increased. The average self-reported quality of life score of the children was found to be 73.91 ± 8.44. The self-esteem sub-dimension score of the children whose tendency to sleep increased during the pandemic (p < 0.05); and the physical well-being (p < 0.001), emotional well-being (p < 0.001), self-esteem (p < 0.001), family (p < 0.01), school (p < 0.05) sub-dimensions and total (p < 0.05) score averages of the children whose tendency to use the Internet were found to be lower. The emotional well-being, family and friends sub-dimensions as well as total average scores of the children of the parents who feel fear/anxiety about coronavirus becoming a pandemic and who stated that lockdown negatively affected their mental health were found to be lower (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Although self-reported quality of life scores of children were generally good, parents reported that their children gained weight, tendency to sleep and internet use increased during the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 23 December 2020

Covid-19: an intrusion of the real the unconscious unleashes its truth

Journal of Social Work Practice: Psychotherapeutic Approaches in Health, Welfare and the Community

This paper explores how Covid-19 is much more than a natural intrusion into our human world. Covid-19 reveals our interconnectivity, how nature needs to be re-imagined beyond our 20th century perceptions of it being an outside force, something of beauty to observe and protect, or to use as a resource or to control when disruptive. The paper takes a Lacanian psychoanalytic perspective to reflect on Covid-19 as master signifier of contagion. Covid19 is an intrusion of a traumatic Real into our lifeworlds. The Real enunciates a particular truth to us; that we live in a precarious, inter-dependent connected world, undoing the hegemony and fantasy of what J.A Miller calls Capitalism-Science. There is no human versus nature, no war against the virus, because the pandemic is more than just an intrusive virus, it’s an Event (Badiou) produced by our social, technological and environmental ecosystems. The paper concludes by introducing Eco-Leadership (Western 2019) a theory and practice for leaders and organisations to adapt, and begin to address the truth of our precarious, interdependent connectivity.

Last updated on hub: 23 December 2020

The jewel in the corona: crisis, the creativity of social dreaming, and climate change

Journal of Social Work Practice: Psychotherapeutic Approaches in Health, Welfare and the Community

The Coronavirus crisis links to the climate crisis in ways that challenge humankind to demonstrate an unprecedented creativity and adaptability to change. This article discusses, both in content and style, this need for creative change and what that might look like. It asserts that the current discourse, with its linear rationality and logic system will fail in the face of the enormity of such epistemological and ontological disturbance. Using the example of social dreaming as a different form of thinking, the article encourages the reader to radically reconsider thought, feelings, reason and creativity as a means to rethinking solutions for a shared future.

Last updated on hub: 23 December 2020

The possibility and importance of immersive technologies during COVID-19 for autistic people

Journal of Enabling Technologies

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify three key areas where autistic people may find themselves impacted through COVID-19, namely, education; employment; and anxiety. Design/methodology/approach: This paper provides some views based on the extensive experience of using immersive technologies for the utilisation and application with autistic groups during COVID-19. Findings: This paper offers some examples of immersive technology application that might be helpful for practitioners, services and others to consider in overcoming possible challenges faced by people with autism. Originality/value: This opinion piece offers expert insights to the role immersive technologies and virtual reality might play during COVID-19 in the lives of autistic groups.

Last updated on hub: 23 December 2020