COVID-19 resources

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Infection prevention and control: resource for adult social care

Department of Health and Social Care

This document sets out general infection prevention and control principles to be used in combination with guidance on managing specific infections. It is for people responsible for setting and maintaining standards of infection prevention and control within adult social care in England, such as care managers. The guidance covers: preventing infection; information about vaccination, antimicrobial resistance, invasive devices and wounds, moving between settings; information about managing infection and leadership and governance. Appendix 1 includes links to further information; (below) for further information; Appendix 2: roles and responsibilities; Appendix 3: common types of body fluid; and Appendix 4: glossary of terms. A Covid-19 supplement has been published alongside this guidance. The guidance applies from 4 April 2022. [First published 31 March 2022]

Last updated on hub: 06 April 2022

Impact of COVID-19 on social prescribing across an integrated care system: a researcher in residence study

Health and Social Care in the Community

Emerging evidence suggests that connecting people to non-medical activities in the community (social prescribing) may relieve pressure on services by promoting autonomy and resilience, thereby improving well-being and self-management of health. This way of working has a long history in the voluntary and community sector but has only recently been widely funded by the National Health Service (NHS) in England and implemented in Primary Care Networks (PCNs). The COVID-19 global pandemic coincided with this new service. There is wide variation in how social prescribing is implemented and scant evidence comparing different delivery models. As embedded researchers within an Integrated Care System in the Southwest of England, we examined the impact of COVID on the implementation of social prescribing in different employing organisations during the period March 2020 to April 2021. Data were collected from observations and field notes recorded during virtual interactions with over 80 social prescribing practitioners and an online survey of 52 social prescribing practitioners and middle managers. We conceptualise social prescribing as a pathway comprising access, engagement and activities, facilitated by workforce and community assets and strategic partnerships. We found that these elements were all impacted by the pandemic, but to different degrees according to the way the service was contracted, whether referrals (access) and approach (engagement) were universal (‘open’) or targeted (‘boundaried’) and the extent to which practitioners’ roles were protected or shifted towards immediate COVID-specific work. Social prescribers contracted in PCNs were more likely to operate an ‘open’ model, although boundaries were developing over time. We suggest the presence of an explicit, agreed delivery model (whether ‘open’ or ‘boundaried’) might create a more coherent approach less likely to result in practitioner role drift, whilst allowing flexibility to adjust to the pandemic and enhancing practitioner satisfaction and well-being. The potential consequences of different models are examined.

Last updated on hub: 01 April 2022

“Precious time together was taken away”: impact of COVID-19 restrictive measures on social needs and loneliness from the perspective of residents of nursing homes, close relatives, and volunteers

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

During the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, restrictive measures (e.g., prohibiting physical visits and group activities) were introduced in nursing homes to protect older residents. Although the importance of social contacts and social activities to fulfill social needs and avoid loneliness is known, these were challenged during the pandemic. This qualitative study specifically focused on how residents, close relatives, and volunteers in nursing homes experienced the restrictive measures in retrospect and gained insights into the impact of the restrictive measures on social needs and loneliness, and the lessons that could be learned. Thirty semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with residents and close relatives, and one online focus group with ten volunteers, were conducted. Recruitment took place at psychogeriatric and somatic units in the Northern, Eastern and Southern regions of the Netherlands and Flanders, Belgium. The interviews and focus group were transcribed verbatim, and an open, inductive approach was used for analysis. Alternative ways of social contact could not fully compensate for physical visits. Generally, participants reported that it was a difficult time, indicated by feelings of loneliness, fear, sadness, and powerlessness. A great diversity in loneliness was reported. The most important reasons for feeling lonely were missing close social contacts and social activities. The diversity in the impact of restrictive measures depended on, e.g., social needs, coping strategies, and character. Restrictive COVID-19 measures in nursing homes resulted in negative emotions and unmet social needs of residents, close relatives, and volunteers. During future outbreaks of the COVID-19 virus or another virus or bacterium, for which restrictive measures may be needed, nursing homes should actively involve residents, close relatives, and volunteers to balance safety, self-determination, and well-being.

Last updated on hub: 01 April 2022

Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic for working carers across the European Union: work, policy and gender considerations

International Journal of Care and Caring

Most caring responsibilities fall to women, many of whom provide care to sick and dependent relatives while also in paid employment. Some European countries have introduced policies that promote the sharing of caring responsibilities between men and women, better work–life balance, and gender equality. Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the way we live and work. In some ways, it has helped progress some of these policy goals, but in others, it may have hindered their progression. This article considers some of the work, policy and gender implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for working carers across the European Union (EU).

Last updated on hub: 31 March 2022

Cognition, care homes and COVID-19: sacrificing minds to keep bodies alive

International Journal of Care and Caring

The COVID-19 restrictions are described from my standpoint with my mother living in residential care. I argue that restrictions have saved my mother’s body, through destroying her mental capacity. The unstated assumption ‐ live bodies justify sacrificed minds ‐ are voiced. Her quality of life remains at an all-time low, with her body preserved only through the sapping of life’s relevance through a drastic reduction in meaningful contact with her family and loved ones. I believe that my mother never would have wished to be kept alive at this cost, but, unfortunately, she no longer has capacity to discuss such issues.

Last updated on hub: 31 March 2022

Informal care in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic

International Journal of Care and Caring

Australia has been less impacted by COVID-19 than most other countries, partly due to strong preventive responses by government. While these measures have resulted in lower rates of infection, family and friend carers have been disproportionately affected by public health orders. The heightened risk of transmission to vulnerable populations, combined with the impact of economic uncertainty, unclear government communication, significant restrictions on movement and personal contact, and the reduction in formal support services, have highlighted pre-existing, systemic shortcomings in support for carers. The COVID-19 pandemic left many carers more stressed, isolated and worse off financially.

Last updated on hub: 31 March 2022

Clean up time! Redesigning care after COVID-19: a position paper on the care crisis from Austria, Germany and Switzerland

International Journal of Care and Caring

We are a group of social scientists from Austria, Germany and Switzerland who drew attention to the care crisis in a cross-national ‘Care manifesto’ as early as 2013. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become impossible to overlook the crisis of care and we believe this provides an opportunity to correct serious shortcomings in the care sector. That is why we are putting forward a new position paper ‐ ‘Clean up time! Redesigning care after COVID-19’ ‐ aiming at identifying problems in the wake of the pandemic and suggesting goals, as well as the next work packages. We ask you to consider the demands in the position paper, disseminate it and discuss it in your networks and communities. Both the English and German versions are available on our website (see: https://care-macht-mehr.com/).

Last updated on hub: 31 March 2022

Kindness as a practice of Kittay’s ‘doulia’ in higher education: caring for student carers during COVID-19 and beyond

International Journal of Care and Caring

Recognising dependency as a fundamental aspect of existence and activating Kittay’s reciprocity principle, ‘doulia’, this study investigates the impacts of COVID-19 on student carers at an Australian university, to what extent teaching staff care for student carers and which pedagogies and teaching practices aid student carers. Analysing the experiences of social science students shortly after the lockdown in 2020, this study finds that pedagogies of kindness and flexibility support student carers. This study calls on teaching staff to recognise students’ inevitable dependencies and commit to pedagogies of kindness.

Last updated on hub: 31 March 2022

Under reconstruction: the impact of COVID-19 policies on the lives and support networks of older people living alone

International Journal of Care and Caring

In the spring of 2020, the Austrian government introduced COVID-19 containment policies that had various impacts on older people living alone and their care arrangements. Seven qualitative telephone interviews with older people living alone were conducted to explore how they were affected by these policies. The findings show that the management of everyday life and support was challenging for older people living alone, even though they did not perceive the pandemic as a threat. To better address the needs of older people living alone, it would be important to actively negotiate single measures in the area of conflict between protection, safety and assurance of autonomy.

Last updated on hub: 31 March 2022

Observed effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the life satisfaction, psychological distress and loneliness of Australian carers and non-carers

International Journal of Care and Caring

Using six waves of longitudinal data, this study investigates wellbeing, psychological distress and loneliness differences between informal carers and non-carers in the context of COVID-19-related policy changes in Australia. Wellbeing levels fluctuated along with the virus case numbers. Free childcare temporarily alleviated the disparity between carers and non-carers, but by its cessation, carers, in particular, reported lower wellbeing and higher psychological distress. Wage subsidies and income supports had opposing effects for carers’ and non-carers’ mental health but decreased the loneliness of both groups. Victorians, living in the state where the second wave of infections in Australia was concentrated, experienced worse outcomes than other Australians.

Last updated on hub: 31 March 2022

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