COVID-19 resources

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The impact of COVID-19 on children’s social care in England

Child Abuse and Neglect

Background: As a response to COVID-19 the population of England was asked to stay at home and work from there wherever possible. This included those working in children’s social care (CSC) who have responsibility for child protection and other safeguarding duties. Objective: The study was designed to understand how CSC made the transition from being an office-based agency to one where the majority of social workers were based at home and to understand how CSC perceived the impact on children and their families. Participants and setting Senior members of CSC staff in 15 local authorities took part in the research in June 2020. Methods: Nine interviews were conducted by video call, three by telephone, and three consisted of initial written responses that were then followed by telephone calls. Results: Service delivery had been maintained across all the authorities with most visits being made virtually after assessments of risk had been conducted on all cases. Multiagency working had improved, with greater involvement of general practitioners and paediatricians. Overall activity in CSC had been lower than normal but as lockdown eased this was changing. Concerns were expressed about how to manage the response that would be required to meet the expected level of harm that had occurred but been hidden. Conclusions: Responses to COVID-19 prompted widespread innovation and it will be an imperative to evaluate which initiatives have worked for children and families, as well as practitioners, and which should be discarded, sustained or reshaped.

Last updated on hub: 15 October 2020

The impact of Covid-19 on community health services

NHS Confederation

This report captures the community sector’s response during the pandemic and showcases the achievements of community providers and their staff. Community health services play a key role within the health and care system, supporting integration at place and neighbourhood level through their relationships across the spectrum of local health and care organisations, including primary care, social care, local authorities and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE). They keep people well at home, or in community settings as close to home as possible, and support them to live independently. The report seeks to learn from community providers’ experiences of the pandemic to secure the necessary transformation for the longer term. It suggests that the expansion and transformation of community services’ capacity during the pandemic proved critical in supporting the NHS’s response. As the health and care sector moves to recover and reset after the first peak of the outbreak, community service providers are now embedding innovative practice. They will play a critical role in providing ongoing rehabilitation for people who have been most seriously ill from the virus. The paper calls for investing in public health and place the social care system on a sustainable footing as a priority; supporting investment in home-based community pathways as well as community rehabilitation beds; boosting the community workforce with a national recruitment campaign and increased deployment of returners before winter pressures hit; and creating a digital improvement strategy, robust national dataset and national performance standards to standardise and spread best practice.

Last updated on hub: 10 August 2020

The impact of Covid-19 on England’s youth organisations

UK Youth

This report provides a snapshot of the impact of Covid-19 on the youth sector and the support they need. A total of 1,759 youth organisations responded to UK Youth’s call for data and offer of financial support to youth services struggling in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. By drawing on operational and financial data offered through the application process, the report outlines who these organisations are and explores their operating circumstances before the crisis hit. The report also explores how Covid-19 and the subsequent limitations of the youth sector have affected young people. It outlines the main areas in which young people desperately require support, from both the youth sector and other services. Two thirds (66%) of the participating youth organisations reported an increase in demand for their services; 83% of youth organisations reported that their income decreased; and more than half (57%) of youth organisations report that the cost of delivering their services to young people has increased since COVID-19 hit. Overall, the report highlights that COVID-19 has and is continuing to have a substantial, negative impact on young people, particularly regarding their wellbeing and mental health. In turn, youth organisations are seeing an increase in demand for their services. However, in many cases, youth organisations are simply unable to meet the substantial demand for their services. The report recommends that that unrestricted funding is made available to the youth sector in order to address three main areas: covering operational costs and responding to local need; rebuilding the workforce; and facilitating adaptation of services, including investment in digital infrastructure.

Last updated on hub: 01 March 2021

The impact of COVID-19 on kinship care: evidence from the kinship care charity Grandparents Plus

Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care

The challenges faced by children in kinship care and their families have been regularly identified in research. Kinship carers look after for some of society’s most vulnerable children, usually whilst facing many adversities themselves. The COVID-19 global pandemic had a significant impact on kinship carers, placing additional stress on their already difficult situations. This article describes the work of Grandparents Plus, the leading charity for kinship care in England and Wales, to identify the impact of COVID-19 on kinship carers and ensure they continued to receive support. Data were gathered using three surveys of kinship carers in England and Wales, and through discussions with Grandparents Plus project workers and volunteers. Kinship carers reported feeling scared about catching the virus, and what would happen to the children if they fell seriously ill. They were exhausted caring for the children twenty-four hours a day without a break and they were worried about the uncertainties of living with a ‘new normal’. Grandparents Plus used this information to develop new and existing support services to meet kinship carers’ needs in the context of COVID-19. It is concluded that kinship carers need sustained support to develop resilience to protect against future unforeseen crises.

Last updated on hub: 06 October 2020

The impact of Covid-19 on nursing homes in Italy

Politecnico di Milano

This brief note examines the interplay between the institutional context of care homes in Italy and the spread of the pandemic. As they faced the pandemic, care homes had both internal and external problems. On the internal side, they had to face the entry of the virus into their structures with inadequate medical staff and insufficient resources and capacity to implement distancing and other preventive actions. They were also unable to provide adequate health care to their Covid-19 patients, and very often unable to send them to hospitals. On the external side, their situation was ignored for a long time by policy makers, who were mainly focused to face the emergency in hospitals. The national lockdown of nursing homes regarding the access of relatives and external visitors – a crucial measure in order to prevent possible transmission of infection – was established only on March 4, about two weeks later the spreading of the infection. Furthermore, for many weeks not adequate attention has been paid to testing and monitoring activities among healthcare staff and patients: a priority for the implementation of such preventive activities in nursing homes was established only at the beginning of April. The paper argues that most of the criticalities came from the pre-existent difficult condition of these institutions. The more nursing homes have specialised in the intensive-health treatment of seriously non-self-sufficient elderly, the more the quality of their services had been hampered by very precarious financial and organisational conditions, co-determined by the lack of public investment in these structures. The pandemic has acted as a “focusing event”, revealing the structural weakness of this sector and the main critical problems affecting it.

Last updated on hub: 11 November 2020

The Impact of COVID-19 on older persons: policy brief

United Nations (UN)

This policy briefing discusses the particular risks that COVID-19 presents for older people, including a high risk of mortality, increased risk of abuse and neglect, and threats to their social and economic wellbeing. It also identifies immediate and longer-term responses needed to protect older people. These are: ensuring that health-care decisions affecting older people are guided by a commitment to dignity and the right to health; strengthening social inclusion during physical distancing; a focus on older people in the socio-economic and humanitarian response to COVID-19; and expanding participation by older people, sharing good practices and harnessing knowledge and data.

Last updated on hub: 02 June 2020

The impact of Covid-19 on the health and care voluntary sector

National Voices

Findings of a survey of forty health and care charities on the impact of the coronavirus emergency on their services and their income. By providing a listening ear when people need it most, signposting and advocating for the right support, delivering accurate and trusted information and advice about the virus itself or connecting to people who are experiencing similar challenges, the voluntary sector is on the frontline of combatting COVID-19. The analysis shows that 77% of respondents reported a slight or significant increase in demand for their services; 28% of respondents predicted at least a 40% drop in their fundraising income over the next 12 months; respondents estimated an approximate 30% reduction in activities during COVID-19. Key workstreams that have reduced include research programmes, core support services, cancellation or postponement of fundraising events, postponement of NHS service improvement programmes, halting of support worker training and the cessation of peer support groups. 45% of respondents had furloughed staff or were about to – of those who intended to furlough staff or had already done so, approximately 50% of staff were on furlough. From the analysis of the data, a number of key messages emerge, including: the health and care voluntary sector is central to combatting the virus and supporting those facing unique challenges during the pandemic; the sector has innovated and adapted quickly in order to maintain their services and meet increased demand but it is particularly hard hit by COVID-19; while current Government support fails to meet its unique needs, a strong and diverse health and care charity sector is needed in order to build back better from COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 27 July 2020

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on long-term care facilities worldwide: an overview on international issues

BioMed Research International

The COVID-19 pandemic had a great negative impact on nursing homes, with massive outbreaks being reported in care facilities all over the world, affecting not only the residents but also the care workers and visitors. Due to their advanced age and numerous underlying diseases, the inhabitants of long-term care facilities represent a vulnerable population that should benefit from additional protective measures against contamination. Recently, multiple countries such as France, Spain, Belgium, Canada, and the United States of America reported that an important fraction from the total number of deaths due to the SARS-CoV-2 infection emerged from nursing homes. The scope of this paper was to present the latest data regarding the COVID-19 spread in care homes worldwide, identifying causes and possible solutions that would limit the outbreaks in this overlooked category of population. It is the authors’ hope that raising awareness on this matter would encourage more studies to be conducted, considering the fact that there is little information available on the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on nursing homes. Establishing national databases that would register all nursing home residents and their health status would be of great help in the future not only for managing the ongoing pandemic but also for assessing the level of care that is needed in this particularly fragile setting.

Last updated on hub: 18 January 2021

The impact of COVID‐19 pandemic on people with mild cognitive impairment / dementia and on their caregivers

International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

he novel coronavirus disease (COVID‐19) was first detected in mainland China in December 2019, and soon it spread throughout the world, with multiple physical and psychological consequences across the affected populations. The aim of the current study was to analyze the impact of COVID‐19 pandemic on older adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)/dementia and their caregivers as well. Two hundred and four caregivers took part in the study, completing a self‐reported questionnaire about the person with MCI/dementia and their own, since the lockdown period which started in February and ended in May of 2020 in Greece. Results indicated a significant overall decline of the people with MCI/dementia. Further, the domains in which people with MCI/dementia were mostly affected were: communication, mood, movement, and compliance with the new measures. Caregivers also reported a great increase in their psychological and physical burden during this period, where the available support sources were limited. The pandemic threatens to disrupt the basic routines that promote mental and physical health of both people with MCI/dementia and their caregivers. Further measures to protect and provide support to people who suffer and their families are needed.

Last updated on hub: 07 December 2020

The impact of COVID-19 to date on older people’s mental and physical health

Age UK

This briefing presents findings of a study on the impact of the pandemic on older people’s physical and mental health. It is based on 569 responses to a survey – 369 respondents were older people themselves and 200 answered on behalf of an older person; and representative online polling of 1,364 people over the age of 60 – of these nearly half were over the age of 70 and 40% were already living with a long-term condition before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The briefing focuses on the impact of the pandemic on physical health; diet and nutrition; cognitive decline; people affected by dementia; long term conditions and shielding; mental health and wellbeing; self-neglect; bereavement; loneliness; and health inequalities. While some older people have used the last few months as an opportunity to do more exercise and improve their fitness, this study suggests that many have seen their health deteriorate in the face of isolation and reduced opportunities to socialise and be physically active – sometimes drastically so. The pandemic has taken its toll on older people’s mental health. Older people with pre-existing mental health conditions have seen an increase in the severity of their symptoms, while others are struggling for the first time. Clubs, activities, and volunteering, which older people previously were involved with have been put on hold, while friends and family have needed to stay away, leaving many older people feeling lonely and isolated. Critically, older people from more disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds have been more severely affected, both mentally and physically.

Last updated on hub: 21 October 2020

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