COVID-19 resources

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Impact of COVID-19 on care and contact: experiences in the first COVID-19 lockdown on foster carers and young people in their care

Research In Practice: Dartington

This report summarises the findings from three questionnaires, which were designed to explore the impact of lockdown on young people in and leaving care. The three questionnaires were designed for: young people in care or with care experience; carers; and birth parents. Many young people and carers described how lockdown had given them more quality time to spend with families or those they live with; over 90% of those in foster care reported relationships at home had improved or stayed the same during lockdown. There were mixed views on virtual family time. While some felt it was a more flexible and convenient option which gave young people more control over the situation, the lack of physical contact was an issue for some, as was the additional responsibility this placed on foster carers to help manage family time. In respect of virtual contact with social workers / personal advisors, over 80% of young people and 90% of carers felt this was the same or better than their contact prior to lockdown, citing increased availability and convenience. However, some people felt there had been a reduction in the amount of contact, and this was particularly apparent for those who experienced a change of social worker over lockdown and did not have an opportunity to meet them. Experiences of home-schooling were also mixed, with some young people thriving due to the flexibility and one-to-one support from carers, and others struggling with the lack of routine and reduction in social contact. Carers also raised how the individualised attention supported some young people’s learning; however, some foster carers commented on the considerable responsibility and time commitments of home-schooling. The wellbeing of children and young people varied considerably over lockdown, with some enjoying the experience and increased free time, and others missing the structure of school and relationships with friends and family.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020

Briefing: improving the nation’s health: the future of the public health system in England

The Health Foundation

In light of the impact of the pandemic and the government’s decision to abolish Public Health England (PHE), this briefing explores what needs to be put in place to make progress on the government’s commitments to improve the nation’s health. It begins by looking at the role government can play in improving the nation’s health before examining how England might transition to a new public health system and what the main priorities for any new system should be. The paper argues that the new system needs the right strategy, structures and resources: the strategy for creating an effective new public health system should include a cross-government commitment to level up health outcomes and enable people to live longer in good health; the structures needed include an independent body to report to parliament on the nation’s health, a national function supporting the public health system, and strengthened local and regional infrastructure; the resources needed include, as a minimum, £1bn to restore public health funding to its 2015 levels and a further £2.5bn needed to level up public health across the country. Government should also commit to ensuring that public health funding keeps pace NHS with funding increases in future. The transition to a new public health system needs to be managed carefully, to ensure that the reorganisation does not disrupt the pandemic response or lead to a weaker system in future.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 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

COVID-19 vaccinations and care homes: programme launch

Department of Health and Social Care

A letter from the Minister for Care to local authorities, directors of adult social services and managers of care homes for older adults. outlining plans for getting the first COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) to care home staff.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020

Reducing burdens on educational and care settings

Department for Education

List of data collections, services or requests which will be cancelled, paused or will continue during the Covid-19 pandemic. [Last updated 19 January 2021]

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020

Asymptomatic carriage rates and case fatality of SARS-CoV-2 infection in residents and staff in Irish nursing homes

Age and Ageing

Background: SARS-CoV-2 has disproportionately affected nursing homes (NH). In Ireland, the first NH case COVID-19 occurred on 16 March 2020. A national point-prevalence testing programme of all NH residents and staff took place (18 April 2020 to 5 May 2020). Aims: to examine characteristics of NHs across three Irish Community Health Organisations, proportions with COVID-19 outbreaks, staff and resident infection rates symptom profile and resident case fatality. Methods: in total, 45 NHs surveyed, requesting details on occupancy, size, COVID-19 outbreak, outbreak timing, total symptomatic/asymptomatic cases and outcomes for residents from 29 February 2020 to 22 May 2020. Results: surveys were returned from 62.2% (28/45) of NHs (2,043 residents, 2,303 beds). Three-quarters (21/28) had COVID-19 outbreaks (1,741 residents, 1,972 beds). Median time from first COVID-19 case in Ireland to first case in these NHs was 27.0 days. Resident incidence was 43.9% (764/1,741)—40.8% (710/1,741) laboratory confirmed, with 27.2% (193/710) asymptomatic and 3.1% (54/1,741) clinically suspected. Resident case fatality was 27.6% (211/764) for combined laboratory-confirmed/clinically suspected COVID-19. Similar proportions of residents in NHs with ‘early-stage’ (<28 days) versus ‘later-stage’ outbreaks developed COVID-19. Lower proportions of residents in ‘early’ outbreak NHs had recovered compared with those with ‘late’ outbreaks (37.4 versus 61.7%; χ2 = 56.9, P < 0.001). Of 395 NH staff across 12 sites with confirmed COVID-19, 24.7% (99/398) were asymptomatic. There was a significant correlation between the proportion of staff with symptomatic COVID-19 and resident numbers with confirmed/suspected COVID-19 (Spearman’s rho = 0.81, P < 0.001). Conclusion: this study demonstrates the significant impact of COVID-19 on the NH sector. Systematic point-prevalence testing is necessary to reduce risk of transmission from asymptomatic carriers and manage outbreaks in this setting.

Last updated on hub: 07 December 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on adjusted mortality risk in care homes for older adults in Wales, UK: a retrospective population-based cohort study for mortality in 2016–2020

Age and Ageing

Background: mortality in care homes has had a prominent focus during the COVID-19 outbreak. Care homes are particularly vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases, which may lead to increased mortality risk. Multiple and interconnected challenges face the care home sector in the prevention and management of outbreaks of COVID-19, including adequate supply of personal protective equipment, staff shortages and insufficient or lack of timely COVID-19 testing. Aim: to analyse the mortality of older care home residents in Wales during COVID-19 lockdown and compare this across the population of Wales and the previous 4 years. Study Design and Setting: This study used anonymised electronic health records and administrative data from the secure anonymised information linkage databank to create a cross-sectional cohort study. This study anonymously linked data for Welsh residents to mortality data up to the 14th June 2020. Methods: This study calculated survival curves and adjusted Cox proportional hazards models to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for the risk of mortality. The researchers adjusted HRs for age, gender, social economic status and prior health conditions. Results: survival curves show an increased proportion of deaths between 23rd March and 14th June 2020 in care homes for older people, with an adjusted HR of 1.72 (1.55, 1.90) compared with 2016. Compared with the general population in 2016–2019, adjusted care home mortality HRs for older adults rose from 2.15 (2.11, 2.20) in 2016–2019 to 2.94 (2.81, 3.08) in 2020. Conclusions: the survival curves and increased HRs show a significantly increased risk of death in the 2020 study periods.

Last updated on hub: 07 December 2020

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

Dementia and the risk of death in elderly patients with COVID‐19 infection: systematic review and meta‐analysis

International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Objectives: The COVID‐19 infection represents a global public health emergency worldwide. Several risk factors have been associated with a poor prognosis among COVID‐19 patients. This study aimed to perform a systemic review and meta‐analysis to evaluate the mortality risk in elderly patients with dementia and COVID‐19 infection. Methods: Literature search was based on Cochrane Library, Embase, PubMed and Google Scholar to locate articles published between December 2019 to July 2020, presenting the number of survived vs deceased patients with dementia and COVID‐19 infection. Results: A total of 233 articles were retrieved; 158 were excluded for not meeting the inclusion criteria, leaving 75 articles to assess for eligibility. After evaluation of the full‐text articles, 8 met the inclusion criteria and were thus included into the final analysis (6493 patients ‐ mean age: 69.6 years). Among COVID‐19 patients, the prevalence of dementia was higher in non survivors compared with survivors (17.5% vs 5.4%, p<0.001). The pooled analysis performed using a random‐effect model showed an increase in the risk of death in COVID‐19 patients with dementia (Odds Ratio3.75; 95% Confidence Interval: 2.54 ‐ 5.54, p<0.0001, I2=49.5%) The Egger's regression test confirmed that there were not statistically evidences of publication bias (t=0.059; p=0.954). Conclusions: The preliminary results suggest that patients with COVID‐19 infection and dementia have a higher mortality risk in the short‐term period compared with infected non‐demented individuals. Due to their intrinsic frailty, dementia patients may require a more aggressive treatment and prompt isolation to improve their short‐term outcome.

Last updated on hub: 07 December 2020

Social policy responses to COVID‐19 in Canada and the United States: explaining policy variations between two liberal welfare state regimes

Social Policy and Administration

Canada and the United States are often grouped together as liberal welfare‐state regimes, with broadly similar levels of social spending. Yet, as the COVID‐19 pandemic reveals, the two countries engage in highly divergent approaches to social policymaking during a massive public health emergency. Drawing on evidence from the first 5 months of the pandemic, this article compares social policy measures taken by the United States and Canadian governments in response to COVID‐19. In general, this paper shows that Canadian responses were both more rapid and comprehensive than those of the United States. This variation, the authors argue, can be explained by analysing the divergent political institutions, pre‐existing policy legacies, and variations in cross‐partisan consensus, which have all shaped national decision‐making in the middle of the crisis.

Last updated on hub: 07 December 2020

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