COVID-19 resources

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Health and social care workers’ quality of working life and coping while working during the COVID-19 pandemic 7th May – 3rd July 2020: findings from a UK survey

Ulster University

Findings from a UK wide survey that measured aspects around quality of working life, wellbeing and coping of the health and social care workforce during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report reveals that overall, COVID-19 has amplified some of the strengths of the UK health and social care workforce. There are the considerable commonalities of human service work but also differences. These apply particularly to the location of work; being on the frontline means different things if a person is working on a hospital unit or in a care home, generally with people who are very ill or at some risk of death. Commonalities among the workforce are their stated altruistic concerns for service users and patients; the very reason why most people work in health and social care. The survey highlighted some differences between groups in terms of their coping mechanisms that may be of interest to HR and employers more generally. For example, while not all younger staff are keen on exercise, it showed that younger staff and men reported this was important to their wellbeing; and while IT proved so valuable in terms of communications and support, it is critical that all workers are IT literate and not further disadvantaged by limits of access or capability. The findings suggest that emotional and psychological support for staff was important in helping reduce the risks of negative work effects during the pandemic. For employers this means enabling this to be part of workplace culture since it is unlikely to manifest itself during a pandemic or crisis if not already existing. Other findings throw a light on the redeployment of staff, which one in ten of our respondents overall had experienced, and the importance of taking care of those who took on extra work when their colleagues were redeployed or on sick leave and the possible risk of burnout or exhaustion.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020

Learning Disability Mortality Review (LeDeR) programme: action from learning: deaths of people with a learning disability from COVID-19

NHS England

This document describes how the NHS is working with partners and stakeholders to embed the learning from the University of Bristol’s report into the deaths of 206 people with a learning disability at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report highlighted some good practice in the care of people with a learning disability, but it also highlighted concerns about the care that some people received. This document explains how the required changes to the services are being implemented so that action is taken. Specifically, it outlines the actions to improve the detection of deterioration in the health of people in community and home settings including people with a learning disability; actions to address the issue of ‘Do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation’ (DNACPR) and learning disability as a cause of death; actions relating to diagnostic overshadowing, when the symptoms of physical ill health are incorrectly either attributed to a mental health/behavioural problem or considered inherent to the person’s learning disability or autism diagnosis; and actions relating to the reasonable adjustments that healthcare providers need to put in place to ensure that people with a learning disability have equal access to health services.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 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 COVID-19 long-term care situation in England

International Long-term Care Policy Network

This report provides an overview of the impact of COVID-19 so far on people who use and provide long-term care in England and of the policy and practice measures adopted to mitigate its impact. The report finds that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been severe in England and has affected disproportionally people who use and provide long-term care. Since the beginning of the pandemic and until the 6th November, 15,659 people had died in the care home and their deaths were linked to COVID-19 in the death register. An estimate of the deaths of care home residents (including those who died in hospital) suggests that, until the 13th November, 20.799 care home residents died whose deaths were attributed to COVID-19. An estimate of excess deaths in care homes suggests that 22,948 more people died until the 30th October, compared to the previous 5 years. This would represent around 5% all care home residents. With the initial response almost entirely focused on the NHS, too little consideration was given to the fragmented social care system, which was already in a fragile state prior to the pandemic, and into which many people were being discharged from hospital. Since the first wave, there has been improvement in terms of availability of guidance, access to Personal Protection Equipment and testing. In the second wave, care providers continue to face challenges with testing capacity (and speed), visiting policies and the financial implications of the additional costs of the pandemic and decreases in revenue. The pandemic has laid bare long-standing problems in the long-term care system in England, such as the fragmentation of responsibilities, funding and workforce pressures, as well as the unequal relationship between the health and social care systems and the invisibility of groups such as working age adults with disabilities and unpaid carers in social care planning.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020

COVID‐19 and care homes in England: What happened and why?

Social Policy and Administration

In the context of very high mortality and infection rates, this article examines the policy response to COVID‐19 in care homes for older people in the UK, with particular focus on England in the first 10 weeks of the pandemic. The timing and content of the policy response as well as different possible explanations for what happened are considered. Undertaking a forensic analysis of policy in regard to the overall plan, monitoring and protection as well as funding and resources, the first part lays bare the slow, late and inadequate response to the risk and reality of COVID‐19 in care homes as against that in the National Health Service (NHS). A two‐pronged, multidimensional explanation is offered: structural, sectoral specificities; political and socio‐cultural factors. Amongst the relevant structural factors are the institutionalised separation from the health system, the complex system of provision and policy for adult social care, widespread market dependence. There is also the fact that logistical difficulties were exacerbated by years of austerity and resource cutting and a weak regulatory tradition of the care home sector. The effects of a series of political and cultural factors are also highlighted. As well as little mobilisation of the sector and low public commitment to and knowledge of social care, there is a pattern of Conservative government trying to divest the state of responsibilities in social care. This would support an interpretation in terms of policy avoidance as well as a possible political calculation by government that its policies towards the care sector and care homes would be less important and politically damaging than those for the NHS.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020

Mitigation of risks of COVID-19 in occupational settings with a focus on ethnic minority groups – consensus statement from PHE, HSE and FOM

Public Health England

Consensus statement from Public Health England (PHE), Health and Safety Executive (HSE ) and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) on the mitigation of risks of COVID-19 in occupational settings with a focus on ethnic minority groups.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020

Enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

This guidance aims to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 23 November 2020

Winter is coming: age and early psychological concomitants of the Covid-19 pandemic in England

Journal of Public Mental Health

Purpose: This paper aims to demonstrate early psychological concomitants of the Covid-19 pandemic in England on a sample of younger and older people. Design/methodology/approach: A cross-sectional quantitative questionnaire (n = 1608) was conducted on the Prolific website. Participants completed the PERMA Scale (Flourishing), the four Office of National Statistics (ONS4) Well-being Questions, the Clinical Outcomes Measure in Routine Evaluation (CORE-10) and the short University of California Los Angeles Brief Loneliness Scale. Findings: Data were gathered on March 18, 2020, near the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This study looks at the effects of the developing pandemic on younger participants (18 to 25 years, n = 391) and older participants (60 to 80 years, n = 104). Flourishing levels for older participants were significantly higher (M = 107.96) than for younger participants (M = 97.80). Younger participants scored significantly higher on the ONS4 for anxiety and lower than the older participants for happiness, life satisfaction and having a worthwhile life. Levels of psychological distress (CORE-10) were also significantly lower for older participants (M = 9.06) than for younger participants (M = 14.61). Finally, younger participants scored significantly higher on the Brief UCLA Loneliness Scale (M = 6.05) than older participants (M = 4.64). Research limitations/implications: From these findings, the Covid-19 pandemic was having a significantly greater effect on younger people in England, less than one week before the UK went into “lockdown”. Scores for both the Younger and Older groups on all the study measures were worse than normative comparisons. The study had no specific measure of Covid-19 anxiety, but nor was one available at the time of the survey. Practical implications: This study suggests that younger people (18 to 25) may be a more vulnerable group during the Covid-19 pandemic than many may have realized. Social implications: As a recent British Psychological Society report concluded, there is a lot of untapped wisdom amongst older groups in society. Originality/value: This is one of the earliest studies to look at psychological distress before England went into “lockdown.”

Last updated on hub: 21 November 2020

Adult secure service user, family and carer feedback survey during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Rethink Mental Illness

Findings from a survey to gather the views and experiences of people in adult secure services, in all service categories including mental illness, personality disorder, learning disability and autism (both in the hospital and the community), and their families and carers, to find out the impact of COVID-19 on them from March to June 2020. The most striking finding was the considerable variation in responses – both between services and within the same service. This report sets out 9 key areas where people identified examples of what is working well, as well as where lessons could be learnt and improvements made, not only for a potential second wave of the pandemic but also to ensure long lasting improvements for services as a consequence of this experience. The key areas are: activities; outdoor access; leave and progress; communication; digital access; family and friends contact; infection control; physical health; and staff. Leave was the most common theme in all of the responses to the survey and overwhelmingly people found the restrictions difficult. People cited a range of reasons for this – not being able to continue with community activities, feeling ‘cooped up’ and the impact on seeing friends and family. Some people linked these restrictions to the effect this was having on their progress and were frustrated that this was holding them up. There was also frustration for people that lockdown easing in the community was not always reflected in the lifting of restrictions in their hospital. Overall, people said they were very understanding of the measures that needed to be in place to limit the impact of COVID-19 and keep them safe.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

Surviving the stigma: lessons learnt for the prevention of COVID-19 stigma and its mental health impact

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

Purpose: The spread of novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has affected more than four million lives worldwide. Unfortunately, incidents of stigmatisation associated with COVID-19 are being reported worldwide. Studies conducted during and after public health emergencies because of communicable diseases have highlighted the development of stigmatisation and associated mental health consequences. This study aims to explore the past pandemics and current incidents of stigmatisation to understand COVID-19 stigma, its mental health impact and how they can be prevented by using primary and secondary prevention methods. Design/methodology/approach: Researches were shortlisted using keywords such as “infectious diseases and mental health”, “COVID 19 stigma and mental health”, “Contagious disease stigma” and “mental health of survivors”. Findings: Studies conducted during and after public health emergencies because of communicable diseases have highlighted the development of stigmatisation and associated mental health consequences. The emphasis is on universal prevention of stigmatization. Early psychological intervention may reduce the long-term psychological effects of the illness and reduction of stigma may contribute to treatment. Originality/value: This paper predicts the chances of stigmatisation that COVID-19 survivors may face and possible strategies to prevent it.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020