COVID-19 resources

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The role of the children in care social worker during the covid-19 crisis and exploring the utilisation of video messaging for younger children in foster care

John Finn, writing in the ‘Irish Social Work’ blog, explores using video messaging for for younger children in foster care.

Last updated on hub: 09 June 2020

The role of the Leeds Neighbourhood Networks during the COVID-19 pandemic

Centre for Ageing Better

The Leeds Neighbourhood Networks (LNN) support older people to remain living independently and to participate in their communities through a range of activities and services that are provided at a neighbourhood level in 37 areas of the city. This report explores how the LNNs have responded to the needs of older people, and others, in their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic; and considered the wider implications of the crisis for their work. Some common themes about the role of the LNN during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic have emerged through the qualitative interviews and subsequent analysis. These include: the ability of the LNNs to respond to need in the community, quickly and flexibility; the embeddedness of LNNs within the wider pandemic response at a city and neighbourhood level; the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the LNN with a combination of challenges and opportunities that seem likely to shape their work in the short, medium and longer term; greater visibility and awareness of the LNNs and their work. The ability of the LNNs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the ways described was underpinned by a number of inter-related enabling factors under three broad categories that sit outside of the geographic, economic and demographic contexts in which the individual NNs operate: i) resources, ii) strategy and leadership, and iii) mission, vision and values.

Last updated on hub: 12 January 2021

The safe use of medication during the COVID-19 pandemic

Scottish Social Services Council

A guide for social care workers supporting people at home or in a care home. It offers support, information and resources for social care workers who have the responsibility to carry out one or more of the following types of support: prompt – remind someone to take their medication using their preferred communication method; assist – help someone who manages their own medication with physical tasks like opening bottles, at their request; administer medication – prepare the right medication, at the right time and support a person to take it in the right way in line with their care or support plan and advice from the prescriber or pharmacist.

Last updated on hub: 18 September 2020

The scope of mental health research during the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath

British Journal of Psychiatry

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on population mental health are unknown. We need to understand the scale of any such impact in different sections of the population, who is most affected and how best to mitigate, prevent and treat any excess morbidity. We propose a coordinated and interdisciplinary mental health science response.

Last updated on hub: 25 October 2020

The state of ageing in 2020

Centre for Ageing Better

Through analysing nationally-available data, this report shows how people across England are ageing. It considers the state of health, finances and communities when COVID-19 hit and the impact it has had so far. The report warns that poor health, unsafe and low-quality housing, and a lack of social connections have exacerbated the impact of the pandemic particularly among the less well-off. Even before the pandemic, progress on improving life expectancy was stalling – and disability-free life expectancy was going backwards. The report also highlights a stark North-South divide in how people experience later life. It shows that people in the South of England have a longer life expectancy and spend more years in good health than those in the North. Key findings include: health – women in the wealthiest parts of the country are set to live 16 years longer in good health than those in the poorest; housing – more than two million people aged 55 or older are living in a home that endangers their health or wellbeing; work – in the year that the state pension age reaches 66, less than half of men and a third of women are still in work at 65; communities – lockdown has seen a surge in community activity – but in many cases the people who are struggling to get by are missing out. The report calls for urgent action by national and local governments, businesses and the voluntary sector to address the gap in disability-free life expectancy and to enable all of us to live longer healthier lives. This will require actions across society – to workplaces, homes and communities if we are to put people on a path to a happy and secure later life.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020

The state of child poverty 2020: the impact of COVID-19 on families and young people living in poverty

Buttle UK

This report provides insight into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic inside the homes of the most vulnerable families in the UK. It presents findings of a qualitative study of nearly 1000 nationwide frontline workers was carried out at the point lockdown restrictions started being lifted in June 2020 and is based on a survey of support workers who have been interacting daily with families throughout the crisis. The report provides a detailed picture of the basic essentials many children in poverty have to go without; the adversities and trauma they have to cope with; how children and young people in poverty have an unequal access to education and how all of these difficulties have a significant detrimental impact on their mental health. The findings show that during lockdown, there have been multiple pressures on children's education – food poverty and a lack of digital access being two of the main issues. As a result, the education gap has widened, and many vulnerable children will have been left behind by the crisis. The impact of being cut off from peers has also impacted mental health – 84% of frontline workers have seen increases in children and young people’s mental health problems. In addition, COVID-19 has impacted considerably on families’ financial wellbeing and their ability to meeting their children's basic needs – 83% of frontline workers have seen an increase in need for foodbanks and 64% for local authority welfare assistance; frontline workers reported major difficulties during lockdown for families in accessing basics, with 57% of families unable to afford essential household items and 47% of families unable to afford food.

Last updated on hub: 11 August 2020

The state of girls’ rights in the UK: early insights into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on girls

Plan International UK

Based on a representative survey of more than 1,000 girls aged 14-21 across the UK, this study provides an initial overview and analysis of some of the wider issues facing girls during the pandemic, with recommendations for action. The report focuses on girls’ safety and public spaces; mental health and wellbeing; sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR); education; and participation and voice. Key findings include: 1 in 5 girls (19%) aged 14-21 have experienced public sexual harassment; 28% feel less safe now than they did before, with regards to going out in public; 1 in 4 girls (25%) have experienced at least one form of abuse, bullying or sexual harassment online; 11% of girls aged 14-21 have not been able to afford period products; 1 in 10 (10%) of girls and young women aged 14-21 have not been able to access their usual form of contraception; 66% of girls say they are learning less now than they were in education, while 19% say they are learning the same and 15% say they are learning more, signalling that the impact of school closures is affecting girls’ education differently.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020

The state of health care and adult social care in England 2019/20

Care Quality Commission

This report sets out the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) assessment of the state of care in England in 2019/20, focusing on quality of care before the pandemic; the impact of the coronavirus pandemic; collaboration between providers; and the challenges and opportunities ahead. The report finds that the care that people received in 2019/20 was mostly of good quality – however, while quality was largely maintained compared with the previous year, there was by and large no improvement overall. As the pandemic gathered pace, health and care staff across all roles and services showed resilience under unprecedented pressures and adapted quickly to work in different ways to keep people safe. The pandemic, however, put considerable pressure on hospitals and care homes; and it is having a disproportionate effect on some groups of people, shining a light on existing inequality in the health and social care system. The crisis has also accelerated innovation that had previously proved difficult to mainstream, such as GP practices moving rapidly to remote consultations – however, many of these innovations exclude people who do not have good digital access, and some have been rushed into place during the pandemic. The analysis also shows that the success of collaboration between providers to keep people safe was varied, often affected by the maturity of pre-existing relationships within the system. The report considers the challenges and opportunities for both the short term, in planning for the coming winter, as well as longer-term strategic planning, including tackling inequalities, a new deal for the adult social care workforce, improving access to primary care services, addressing waiting lists and backlog of urgent and elective care, and ensuring accessible and appropriate mental health provision.

Last updated on hub: 19 October 2020

The supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic

National Audit Office

This report focuses on the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic. It examines: responsibilities for PPE supply in England (Part One); the emergency response to PPE shortages, focusing on the performance of national bodies in obtaining and distributing PPE to local organisations (Part Two); the experience of health and social care providers and their workforce (Part Three); and the Department of Health & Social Care’s (the Department’s) new PPE strategy (Part Four). The Government initially considered it was well-placed for managing the supply of PPE in a pandemic, with tested plans and a stockpile in place. But neither the stockpiles nor the usual PPE-buying and distribution arrangements could cope with the extraordinary demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, government’s structures were overwhelmed in March 2020. Once government recognised the gravity of the situation it created a parallel supply chain to buy and distribute PPE. However, it took a long time for it to receive the large volumes of PPE ordered, particularly from the new suppliers, which created significant risks. There were further difficulties with distribution to providers and many front-line workers reported experiencing shortages of PPE as a result. The initial focus on the NHS meant adult social care providers felt particularly unsupported. Government has budgeted an unprecedented £15 billion of taxpayers’ money to buy PPE for England during 2020-21. It has paid very high prices given the very unusual market conditions, and hundreds of millions of pounds-worth of PPE will not be used for the original intended purpose.

Last updated on hub: 26 November 2020

The team as a secure base revisited: remote working and resilience among child and family social workers during COVID-19

Journal of Children's Services

Purpose: Social work teams can provide a secure base for social workers, supporting them to manage the emotional demands of child and family social work (Biggart et al., 2017). As the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated increased remote working, social workers have needed to maximise their use of virtual networks and navigate new ways of connecting with colleagues. This study aims to examine the extent to which social work teams can function as a secure base in the context of remote working. Design/methodology/approach: Between 19th March and 13th June, the authors undertook 31 in-depth, qualitative interviews with child and family social workers across 9 local authorities in England. this research captured social workers’ perspectives on remote working and team support throughout lockdown in England. Findings: In this study, the authors report findings in three key areas: how social workers experienced the sudden shift to increased remote working; how social work teams provided a secure base for remote working; and the challenges for sustaining the team as a secure base when working remotely. Originality/value: These findings will be of interest to social workers, managers and local authorities as they adapt to the challenges of increased remote working in child and family social work.

Last updated on hub: 30 December 2020

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