COVID-19 resources

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Lonely and left behind: tackling loneliness at a time of crisis

British Red Cross

Findings from an in-depth qualitative research, exploring the experience of loneliness among people who had been isolating or shielding as a result of the pandemic. The research took a longitudinal, case study approach, engaging 16 participants from a range of backgrounds through a series of in-depth telephone interviews and written diary tasks between July and September 2020. Each of the participants had been, at the time of the research, isolating or shielding, with some starting to reintegrate throughout the period. The study reveals that: many participants were feeling lonely or isolated before the pandemic, often due to experiencing a degree of turbulence in their lives, and this has been compounded by the impacts of the pandemic and being less able to utilise previous coping strategies during lockdown; all participants reported experiencing loneliness more often as a result of the pandemic and lockdown; for participants who continue to shield as lockdown restrictions eased, feelings of loneliness either stayed the same or worsened as they watched others resume their social lives, and they reported feeling ‘left behind’; participants pointed to the heightened importance of technology and entertainment to try to cope with loneliness, rather than the physical social interactions that they would have been able to turn to prior to the pandemic; of the policy and practice solutions tested with participants, the most popular solution was investing in remote mental health and emotional support. It was felt any type of support would need to be delivered remotely, due to fear of COVID-19 and reluctance to access options that would require physical travel or mixing with others in person.

Last updated on hub: 17 December 2020

Coronavirus and the social impacts on different ethnic groups in the UK: 2020

The Office for National Statistics

This release uses data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) matched with data from the Understanding Society: COVID-19 Study, 2020 to explore the social impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic initial period of lockdown on the health, employment, and living standards of people of different ethnicities in the UK. The release also uses data from the Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS) to understand the financial resilience of different ethnic groups in Great Britain before the pandemic. Main points include: most ethnic groups in the UK experienced a worsening of their self-reported mental health between 2019 and April 2020 (based on their GHQ-12 score); the mental well-being of those in the Indian ethnic group in the UK may have been particularly affected by the pandemic as they reported both greater difficulty with sleep over worry between 2019 and the initial period of lockdown (April 2020) and had higher scores than other groups on a measure of self-reported mental health difficulties (GHQ-12); prior to the pandemic, households headed by someone of Black African or Other Black ethnicity were significantly less likely to have enough formal financial assets to cover a drop in employment income than those from most other ethnic groups; after adjusting for age, around half of working-age adults of White British (46%) and Other White (51%) ethnicities in paid work, both immediately before and during the first period of lockdown, in the UK, reported a decrease in their weekly hours worked in April 2020, compared with one-third of their counterparts of Indian (33%) and Black, African, Caribbean or Black British (33%) ethnicities; in April 2020 in the UK, over a quarter (27%) of those from Black, African, Caribbean or Black British ethnic groups reported finding it very or quite difficult to get by financially, significantly more than those from White Irish (6%), Other White (7%), Indian (8%) and Pakistani or Bangladeshi (13%) ethnic groups.

Last updated on hub: 16 December 2020

Valuing voices in Wales: protecting rights through the pandemic and beyond

National Development Team for Inclusion

This report brings together findings from a survey, carried out in June 2020, of 72 advocates working across Wales. Advocates shared urgent concerns which reflect not only the restrictions that the pandemic brought but also the wider societal and cultural belief systems and attitudes towards people who are supported through advocacy. There are widespread and profound concerns about the impact of the pandemic on the human rights of people who use health and social care services. Responses indicated frequent failures to provide people with the support to which they are legally entitled, increasing risks of abuse and harm and weaknesses in the safeguards needed to prevent and address these. Key findings show that: eighty-five percent (85%) of advocates felt the human rights of the people they support were not being fully upheld; a third (33%) of advocates had experienced Do Not Attempt Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation orders (DNACPRs) being placed on the people they support without any regard to the person’s feelings, wishes, values or beliefs, and without formal capacity assessments or consultation with family; over forty percent (43%) of advocates reported care providers had stopped all visitors and almost a third (31%) reported that people were being confined to their rooms; over a quarter of advocates (28%) experienced a care provider seeking to prevent access to advocates despite rights to advocacy remaining unchanged; while some people find digital communication can be as effective as meeting in person, for most people it is not comparable. It means that they are not getting the support they need and this risks further entrenching health inequalities.

Last updated on hub: 16 December 2020

Lessons learnt from councils' response to rough sleeping during the COVID-19 pandemic

Local Government Association

Findings of a study to investigate lessons learnt from the ‘Everyone In’ response to the COVID-19 crisis in dealing with rough sleeping and those at risk of it and how this can inform future policy and practice, including planning for winter. The success of Everyone In demonstrates that, given the mandate and funding, councils, working with their partners, have the means to end the vast majority of rough sleeping. Where Everyone In worked well there were some features that contributed to its success. These were: rapid and expansive response in picking up and accommodating people sleeping rough and people living in unsafe conditions at risk of sleeping rough, including those not normally eligible for public services due to immigration status; comprehensive needs assessment, including health, substance abuse and specific needs of women; characteristics of hotel accommodation giving important feelings of safety and self-worth; multi-agency services coming to the emergency accommodation and encouraging engagement; and rapid turnaround in moving on low needs cohort. Multi-agency partnership working was key to success – important aspects were: councils working closely with a broader range of partners than usual, including health, criminal justice, housing associations and the voluntary and charitable sectors; engagement with health services; enhanced trust between councils operating across two tier geographies; and making the most of new technology to conduct remote meetings between agencies, drastically reducing the logistical barriers to co-operation.

Last updated on hub: 16 December 2020

Building common purpose: learning on engagement and communications in integrated care systems

NHS Confederation

Led by a working group of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and other NHS and local authority communications leaders, this document has drawn on the insights of system leaders and senior communicators working throughout health and care during the Covid-19 pandemic. As with other areas of health and care, the pandemic has helped to remove divides between communicators working in different organisations. There is now an opportunity to build on this in 2021 with every area of the country set to be part of an integrated care system. The document identifies five success factors that are required for high-performing engagement and communications at system level. These are: embed a strategic approach to engagement and communications; adopt systematic approaches to continuous relationship building; develop a shared vision and narrative and make it real; embed open, transparent and two-way engagement approaches; and develop engagement and communications leadership, capacity and expertise. The central message from this work is that engagement and communications is a key enabler of partnership and system working. It can play a crucial role in supporting integrated care systems, and the partners that make them up, to achieve stronger relationships, more open and transparent ways of working, greater trust, more engaged staff and, ultimately, better outcomes for the public.

Last updated on hub: 16 December 2020

To the top of the cliff: how social work changed with COVID-19

International Federation of Social Workers

This booklet charts the continuing transformation of social work, from the first outbreaks of COVID-19 in China in January 2020 to the new global strategy for the profession agreed at the IFSW conference in July – a set of priorities which made manifest the new sense of purpose developing in social work as a result of COVID-19. The publication serves partly as a historical archive of what has happened but may also provide inspiration, helping social workers move forward with the new global strategy in mind. It is a first outline of what the new global social work looks like, providing examples and ideas to develop further with the new goals in mind. The booklet describes how social workers are setting a strong base for the challenges ahead. They are implementing community-centred approaches which are ideally suited to pre-empting and buffering the social effects of COVID-19. The paper argues that the experience of COVID-19 can be used to work towards policy engagement with communities, active community responses that support the wellbeing of all and social services that are platforms for communities to thrive and avert catastrophe, not agencies for picking-up the pieces.

Last updated on hub: 16 December 2020

Webinar recording: MCA and COVID vaccinations in care homes

Social Care Institute for Excellence

With the imminent roll-out of COVID vaccinations in care homes, the National Mental Capacity Forum will host a Rapid Response Webinar to share knowledge and reinforce good practice in consenting patients for the new COVID vaccinations, and to empower clinicians to have meaningful engagement with vaccine recipients.

Last updated on hub: 16 December 2020

Child protection conference practice during COVID-19: reflections and experiences (rapid consultation September–October 2020)

Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

This rapid consultation aimed to explore how child protection conferences (CPCs) practice has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact this has had on the children, families, and professionals involved. The consultation included an online survey and a series of interviews; 492 professionals responded to the survey and there were respondents from 108 of 151 local authorities in England and 16 of 22 in Wales; 52 of the professionals were also interviewed; 24 parents responded to the survey and 14 of them were interviewed. Survey responses suggested that CPCs were mainly being conducted over video or by phone, while a substantial minority of professionals had attended at least one ‘hybrid’ conference, where some people attended in person, and others joined by phone or video. Overall, according to professionals, the positives and negatives associated with remote CPCs are fairly evenly balanced. The main advantages identified were: better attendance by, and improved engagement of, a wider range of professionals, as well as convenience in terms of time saved; some felt that CPCs were less intimidating for parents. The main disadvantages as far as professionals were concerned were: limitations in terms of the restricted opportunities for discussion and reflection; problems with technology; loss of a sense of seriousness; issues around parental engagement - this includes parents not always being able to understand what was happening and not being prepared or supported to engage fully - particular issues were identified for parents with learning difficulties and language or communication needs; overarching concerns around confidentiality and safety. The small sample of parents who responded to the survey or were interviewed were much less positive than professionals – all parents interviewed said they would have preferred a face-to-face conference.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

How can patients with COVID-19 and their family or unpaid carers be enabled and supported to manage palliative care treatment safely and effectively at home?

Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine

A review of the evidence to determine how people with COVID-19 and unpaid carers could be enabled and supported by healthcare professionals to manage palliative care treatment safely and effectively at home. There is a need for prompt, responsive and anticipatory support for carers at home who may be feeling unsure about their role in providing end-of-life care and where to turn to for support and treatment for their relative. Key messages emerging from the literature include: healthcare systems have had to adapt rapidly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic – as a result, some family and unpaid carers may take on additional responsibilities in providing palliative care treatment for patients who have opted to die at home but carers may feel unsure about their role in providing end-of-life care and where to turn for support and treatment for their relative; no empirical research was found that has been conducted during the current COVID-19 pandemic to inform how to support carers of people receiving palliative care at home or to clarify whether this approach is safe for all involved; research assessing the needs of home carers in other palliative care contexts suggests carers may be enabled to manage medication at home, provided that appropriate support and education is given, and that carers have the required capabilities; the use of digital technology can help, but healthcare professionals should be aware that not all carers have access to suitable equipment; providing education for carers, relevant to their caring role, as well as supporting their general wellbeing, can be of benefit – however, providing formal, structured interventions presents considerable challenges during the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

Unequal impact? Coronavirus and BAME people: third report of session 2019-21

House of Commons

Findings from an inquiry exploring the extent to which, throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) people have been affected by pre-existing inequalities across a huge range of areas, including health, employment, accessing Universal Credit, housing and the no recourse to public funds policy. The report considers the health factors that have exacerbated the impact of the coronavirus pandemic for BAME people, including the role played by comorbidities, health inequalities, and other wider determinants of health. It examines the interplay between an individual’s occupation and their exposure to the virus; the relationship between pre-existing occupational inequality and how this was heightened by the economic consequences of the pandemic; and how BAME people have been particularly affected by zero-hour contracts during the pandemic. The report also looks at some of the challenges faced by BAME people when applying for Universal Credit (UC), as more people are turning to the UC system to access necessary support; and examines how pre-existing housing inequalities amplified the impact of coronavirus for BAME communities, focusing on the health impacts of overcrowding and housing conditions. Finally, the report highlights early evidence suggesting that there are severe impacts of the no recourse to public funds policy that need to be addressed.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

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