COVID-19 resources

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Destitution in the UK 2020

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

This report examines the scale and nature of destitution in the UK, updating similar studies undertaken in 2015 and 2017. It is based on in-depth case studies on destitution in 18 locations, including a user survey of 113 crisis services and in-depth interviews with 70 destitute respondents. The user survey was conducted in autumn 2019, and captured the scale of destitution in the UK before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK in early 2020. The qualitative interviews, undertaken in spring 2020, enabled in-depth exploration of the experiences of destitute households during the UK lockdown that started in March 2020. The report estimates that more than a million households were destitute in the UK at some point in 2019, with these households containing 2.4 million people, of whom 550,000 were children. There was a significant increase in the number of destitute households over the two-and-half years between the 2017 and 2019 surveys. There were also signs of a growing intensity of destitution for some, with more households experiencing both multiple deprivation of essentials and a very low income, and more households with zero income or less than £70 a week. Chapters cover: the scale and distribution of destitution in the UK in 2019; the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on UK nationals with experience of destitution; the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on migrants with experience of destitution; and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on people with ‘complex needs’ with experience of destitution.

Last updated on hub: 10 December 2020

Detrimental effects of confinement and isolation on the cognitive and psychological health of people living with dementia during COVID-19: emerging evidence

International Long-term Care Policy Network

This report contains a short review of the emerging evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on the cognitive and psychological health of people living with dementia and the reported mitigating measures. Three papers describing the effects of lockdown on people with dementia living in the community show a worsening of functional independence and cognitive symptoms during the first month of lockdown (31% of people surveyed) and also exacerbated agitation, apathy and depression (54%), along with the deterioration of health status (40%) and increased used of antipsychotics or related drugs (7%). People with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and their family caregivers seem to be particularly struggling to comply with protective measures. Only 2 case studies reporting strategies to support people with dementia in care homes have been produced so far. One describes a quarantine care plan for a person with FTD and the other, a mitigating strategy to ease the distress experienced by a man when his family stopped visiting during the pandemic. People living with dementia in care homes have experienced a particularly harsh version of lockdown – the ban on visits from spouses and partners in care is believed to be causing a significant deterioration in the health and wellbeing of residents with dementia. It is worth noting that a study involving 26 care homes proved that it is possible to implement successful infection control measures at the same time that visits are permitted. Learnings from this first COVID-19 wave can help the home care and day care sector prepare to minimise the disruption of their services in future waves so support can continue for people with dementia in the community. In care homes, evidence-based compassionate protocols should contribute to mitigating the detrimental effects of isolation and quarantine in residents with dementia (and their families).

Last updated on hub: 04 November 2020

Developing a measure of the impact of COVID‐19 social distancing on household conflict and cohesion

Family Process

This report introduces the COVID‐19 Family Environment Scale (CHES), which aims to measure the impact of social distancing due to COVID‐19 on household conflict and cohesion. Existing measures do not capture household experiences relevant to the pandemic, in which families are largely confined to their homes while sharing a life‐threatening situation. Using best practice guidelines, this study developed a pool of items and revised them with review by a panel of experts, and cognitive interviewing with community respondents. This study administered the CHES by online survey to 3,965 adults. The CHES consists of 15 items for each of two subscales, household conflict (α = .847) and household cohesion (α = .887). Exploratory factor analysis yielded two factors, corresponding to the intended conflict and cohesion items, which accounted for 29% of variance. Confirmatory factor analysis partially supported the 2‐factor model (RMSEA = .057; CFI = .729, TLI = .708, and SRMR = .098). The CHES also contains 25 optional items to describe respondent and household characteristics, and household‐level COVID‐19 exposure. The CHES, publicly available at https://elcentro.sonhs.miami.edu/research/measures-library/covid-19/index.html, provides a tool for measuring the impact of the COVID‐19 pandemic on important determinants of resilience in the face of major stressful events. Further work is needed to address the factor structure and establish validity of the CHES.

Last updated on hub: 14 October 2020

Developing emotional resilience and wellbeing: a practical guide for social workers

This comprehensive guide provides information and techniques to help social workers to develop their emotional resilience and wellbeing during the conravirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for social work and developing greater resilience can help protect social workers from the stresses they face. The guide, which is based on messages from research, considers the meaning of resilience, highlights the factors that underpin this key quality and identifies how they can be developed. It highlights the importance of qualities such as reflective thinking, social competence, supervision and organisational support, coping skills and self-compassion to developing resilience. Tools and techniques identified that can be used to develop greater resilience, include: mindfulness, thinking skills, peer support, and self-awareness and action planning.

Last updated on hub: 14 April 2020

Did the UK government really throw a protective ring around care homes in the COVID-19 pandemic?

Journal of Long-Term Care

Context: COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted mortality in English care homes. Objectives: To examine COVID-19 policies for care homes in England and to describe providers’ experiences of those policies in May and June 2020. Methods: Mixed methods including policy analysis and an anonymous online survey of English care home providers, recruited using webinars and WhatsApp groups about their experiences of funding, testing, PPE, isolation and staffing until the end of May and early June 2020. Findings: Although social care policies in England have aligned with those advised by the World Health Organization, they were arguably delayed and were not implemented effectively. Testing had taken place in 70% of care homes surveyed but only 36% of residents had been tested, of whom 16% were positive. Managers were unable to effectively implement isolation policies and reported that workforce and funding support did not always reach them. Guidance changed frequently and was conflicting and could not always be implemented, for example when personal protection equipment was extremely expensive and difficult to source. Limitations: Although this was not a representative sample, care homes responded from across the country and this study reports the most consistent themes. Potentially, care homes that found it harder to implement national guidance may have been more inclined to respond to the survey than those who more easily changed practice, although those with outbreaks may also have had less capacity to respond. Some aspects of policy will have also changed since early June. Implications: Despite policies that were put in place, care homes amongst the survey respondents were still unable to access sufficient funding, testing, PPE, workforce support and practical support to isolate residents by the end of May and early June. Future cross-country policy analyses must examine policy implementation as well as content.

Last updated on hub: 11 November 2020

Difficult conversations during COVID-19: ESSS Outline

The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services

This summary considers the developing evidence on having difficult conversations during the COVID-19 pandemic. It gives specific consideration to conversations around end-of-life care and to talking to children about COVID-19. This summary reflects mostly on evidence published in the past months which are specifically addressing the unique health and social care needs of this time. It also covers the issues of advance care planning and person-centred conversations.

Last updated on hub: 05 June 2020

Digital health and Covid-19: a PRSB consultation

Professional Record Standards Body

Based on consultation with PRSB members and partners including the royal colleges, social care system leaders, health care providers, patient groups and regulators, this report examines the digital transformation of health and care services during the pandemic and recommends how the system can use the lessons from COVID-19 to advance digital change, while maintaining safety and prioritising citizen’s needs. The report indicates the emergence of some clear priorities for action in relation to digital health and care. These focus on harnessing the enthusiasm of service users and professionals for digital; self-management and remote monitoring; improving information collection and data exchange; safety; resetting and supporting evolving models of care in urgent and emergency services; shared decision making and end of life care; social care, working on a system-wide implementation plan for new social care standards to build support for digital transformation across health and care and to support the future of integrated care.

Last updated on hub: 01 December 2020

Digital health and Covid-19: a PRSB consultation

Professional Record Standards Body

Findings of a consultation exploring the role of digital in responding to the pandemic; the opportunities and challenges encountered and the lessons for the future; and views on ways in which PRSB and its members can influence this agenda. The report reveals that the experience of a shift to digitally enabled working was, on balance, seen as positive by both professionals and people using services; the benefits from remote consultation went beyond convenience and a reduced risk of infection, particularly for people who have found traditional consultations a challenge; almost universally, there was a sense that many of the changed ways of working, with adjustment where necessary, should be retained; however, poor infrastructure, multiple platforms, and lack of interoperability across many health and social care settings prevented optimal service delivery; remote and self-monitoring tools have great potential, but they need standardising, integration, quality control and risk management; data requirements, for practice, governance and for research, need much better planning and coordination and reducing burden is essential; the pace of change in practice has not been matched by updated and responsive protocols for information sharing, leading to suboptimal care and frustration; the care sector, and social care, despite welcome developments such as access to NHSMail during the crisis, experience challenges in the timely access to information that could improve outcomes and experience for people. The report sets out a comprehensive set of recommendations addressing each of the priorities for action identified in the consultation.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020

Digital innovation in adult social care: how we've been supporting communities during COVID-19

This report is intended to share learning and offer practical considerations for councils, their partners and national bodies on how best to support greater digital innovation and adoption across the adult social care sector. It draws on engagement with councils both before and during the adult social care COVID-19 initial response. It looks at what local authorities have done to support the use of technology for connection, wellbeing and bringing communities closer together; it assesses what we have learned about the factors which lead to successful digital; and considers what next if we want to keep up the momentum and sustain new learning, approaches and ways of working. Findings are grouped into the following four themes, although these are not mutually exclusive and are enablers of each other: promoting wellbeing and independence; flexible and enabled working; digital for everyone; and working together with partners. The report finds that local authorities made greater use of technology to help people of all ages and in all settings get connected and stay connected, independent and well; they adopted digital technology to keep vital services up and collaborated with others to adopt digital technology at pace and scale. Key lessons and messages include: simple technologies can help people with daily activities and reduce isolation; digital transformation requires strong leadership and a culture shift; it’s not just about the kit, but about enabling outcomes for people and communities; and sustainable and meaningful change needs strong partnerships and commitment. To sustain the momentum, the report recommends using technology preventatively to support self-management; investing in people to achieve digital change and transformation; investing in local and co-produced digital approaches; and investing in digital to support longer-term adult social care reform which is coproduced with key stakeholders and communities.

Last updated on hub: 07 September 2020

Digital Social Care COVID-19 guidance

NHS Digital

Sharing information on how technology can be used to support staff and the people they support. Includes links to a Quick Guide: how technology can help during COVID-19 and a list of free digital tools/resources for COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 09 June 2020