COVID-19 resources

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Covid-19: a critical time for cross-sector social work care management

Social Work in Health Care

Covid-19 has profoundly impacted social work and has exposed the existing inequities in the health care system in the United States. Social workers play a critical role in the pandemic response for historically marginalized communities and for those who find themselves needing support for the first time. Innovative approaches to care management, including the Center for Health and Social Care Integration (CHaSCI) Bridge Model of transitional care provides a foundation from which social workers can rise to meet these new challenges.

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

Addressing the social needs of individuals with food allergy and celiac disease during COVID-19: a new practice model for sustained social care

Social Work in Health Care

COVID-19 has led to high rates of food insecurity. Food insecure patients with food allergy and celiac disease are especially vulnerable during the pandemic when foods become limited. This paper describes a practice innovation implemented by a community-based organization, Food Equality Initiative (FEI), whose mission is improving health and ending hunger among individuals with food allergy and celiac disease. FEI responded to the pandemic by converting their in-person pantries to a contactless delivery of safe foods. The practice innovation is discussed in relation to three system-level elements necessary to sustain the integration of social care into the delivery of healthcare.

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

cAIR: implementation of peer response support for frontline health care workers facing the COVID-19 pandemic

Social Work in Health Care

Purpose: While global pandemics such as the COVID-19 public health crisis are known to increase the likelihood of frontline health care workers experiencing the negative effects of stress and trauma, many health care workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic lack adequate support. This paper presents the findings of a social work led peer support model, COVID-19 Am I Resilient (cAIR), developed and deployed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: This quality improvement initiative was developed and piloted within the Clinical Education and Practice department at a large urban health care system. The pilot included provision of peer support through synchronous video presentations, one-on-one peer support, and resourcing and referral. Pilot outcomes of feasibility and staff engagement were evaluated using participant responses to an online survey as well as attendance records at project activities. Implications: Developed to help frontline health care workers thrive in the midst, and wake, of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pilot study of the cAIR peer support model has implications for further development and implementation of peer support for typically underrepresented health care disciplines working during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as future public health emergencies.

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

Virtual family town hall: an innovative multi-family telehealth intervention during COVID-19

Social Work in Health Care

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to the U.S. mental healthcare system. Immediate action has been required to transform existing social work practice models to ensure uninterrupted delivery of essential mental health services. This paper describes how clinicians in a residential program, who offered an in-person multi-family education workshop, rapidly pivoted in the context of the pandemic to develop and implement an alternative and unique multi-family intervention model – a virtual family town hall. This innovative telehealth practice model serves as an exemplar of best practices amidst the COVID-19 pandemic as it prioritized health and safety, increased accessibility, and allowed clinicians to effectively respond to family members’ heightened informational needs.

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

Supporting families struggling with food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic: an innovative cross-sector collaboration

Social Work in Health Care

Food insecurity is an ongoing and persistent problem for many individuals and families in the United States and in New York City. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the scope of the problem and data show that food insecurity rates have increased almost three times over pre-COVID rates. In addition, with unemployment increasing daily and the closure of safety net programs and services, there became a need for creatively attending to the basic needs of individuals and families. SCO Family of Services (SCO), a large human service provider in New York City and Long Island, launched an innovative project with DoorDash during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and successfully got food into the homes of more than 1,900 families. This article discusses the practice innovation, project impact, lessons learned, and social work implications.

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

How COVID-19 has impacted integrated care practice: lessons from the frontlines

Social Work in Health Care

Primary care systems are a mainstay for how many Americans seek health and behavioral health care. It is estimated that almost a quarter of behavioral health conditions are diagnosed and/or treated in primary care. Many clinics treat the whole person through integrated models of care such as the Primary Care Behavioral Health (PCBH) model. COVID-19 has disrupted integrated care delivery and traditional PCBH workflows requiring swift adaptations. This paper synthesizes how COVID-19 has impacted clinical services at one federally qualified health center and describes how care has continued despite the challenges experienced by frontline behavioral health providers.

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

Social work and telehealth: how Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) social workers in the Veterans Health Administration responded to COVID-19

Social Work in Health Care

In March 2020, the Veterans Health Administration (VA) responded to pandemic shutdowns with a rapid pivot toward providing services via telehealth. Using data on Veterans who received interventions from social workers between 2019 and 2020 at sites that participated in a national program to increase social work staffing in primary care, we examined changes in frequency and modality of social work encounters that occurred with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that primary care social workers maintained a consistent level of engagement, with increases in telephone and video telehealth encounters as in-person visits decreased. Through front-line perspectives, we discuss the practical innovations and policies that enabled those changes in care from VA primary care social workers.

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

The well-being and perspectives of community-based behavioral health staff during the COVID-19 pandemic

Social Work in Health Care

With high levels of burnout, turnover, and secondary traumatic stress, the well-being of the behavioral health workforce was an area of concern prior to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. How the COVID-19 crisis has impacted social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other behavioral health professionals is unclear but should be examined. A brief survey evaluated the impact of the pandemic on the well-being of 168 behavioral health clinical and administrative staff serving in an urban behavioral health center in the United States. Staff experienced several personal and organizational-related challenges related to work–life balance, emotional distress, and organizational communication. Nevertheless, staff found an abundance of positive experiences when engaging with clients. Supportive, positive feedback and statements of appreciation from clients, colleagues, and supervisors helped staff to feel at their best. The well-being of behavioral health staff may be facilitated by consistent and supportive communication at the team, supervisory, and organizational levels and by involving staff in planning agency policy.

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

Enablers and barriers to implement COVID-19 measures in long-term care facilities: a mixed methods implementation science assessment in Chile

Journal of Long-Term Care

Background: As elsewhere, in Chile the COVID-19 affected disproportionately older people, and particularly people living in long-term care facilities. Considering this problem, the Government issued a series of guidelines and protocols to prevent and manage COVID-19 outbreaks in these facilities. Methods: This study aims to identify barriers and enablers that affect the implementation of these prevention and management measures. For the analysis, we used an implementation science approach and a mixed methods strategy — a survey among facilities’ managers and interviews among staff — classifying enablers and barriers into four categories: agreement with the intervention’s goals, financial resources to implement the measures, technical needs of the intervention, and cultural factors in the facilities. Results: Results highlight the importance of the four factors above in the implementation of COVID-19 guidelines and protocols. Managers and staff differ in their view of the main enablers and barriers for implementation. However, they both identify the knowledge about the measures and availability of personal protective equipment as enablers and human resources as a potential barrier. Conclusions: The identification of several factors related to goals and culture highlights the need to adopt a broad implementation approach when designing interventions for long-term care facilities, avoiding restricting the discussion to the availability of resources. Highlight: Understanding implementation factors is key to design and assess successful interventions. The prevention and management measures implemented in the Chilean facilities found barriers (e.g., infrastructure, human capital and resistance to chance), and enablers (e.g., PPE availability and trust in technical staff) that could have impacted the effectiveness of the measures proposed. Tackling the identified implementation barriers using feasible and evidence based strategies could improve the effectiveness of the measures.

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

The endemic amid the pandemic: seeking help for violence against women in the initial phases of COVID-19

Journal of Interpersonal Violence

During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments instituted a series of measures to control the spread of the virus. The measures were widely believed to increase women’s risk of violent victimization, most of which is by an intimate partner. We examined help-seeking during this period in a large U.S. city and used an interrupted time series analysis to assess the effects of three government interventions on domestic violence and sexual assault hotline calls and on “911” calls regarding domestic violence, assault, and rape. Declaration of an emergency appeared to reduce victim calls to the rape crisis hotline and the few “911” calls about rape. School closure was associated with a reduction in “911” calls about assault and rape and victim calls to the domestic violence hotline. Implementation of stay-at-home orders was associated with a gradual increase in domestic violence hotline calls. Although “911” calls regarding assault fell by nearly half, calls to police for domestic violence were unchanged. In sum, there was a decrease in help-seeking for sexual assault and assault in general but not for domestic violence during the initial phases of the COVID-19 outbreak. The analysis underscores the importance of distinguishing between the violence itself, calls to police, and calls to helplines when claims are made about changes over time in violence against women. The opportunities and constraints for each can differ widely under usual circumstances, circumstances that were altered by public health interventions related to the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

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