COVID-19 resources

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Delivering core NHS and care services during the pandemic and beyond: second report of session 2019–21

UK Parliament

Findings of an inquiry to investigate a range of issues relating to the delivery of core NHS and care services during the pandemic. This report addresses the following issues: communication with patients; managing waiting times and the backlog of appointments; issues facing NHS and care staff relating to access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and routine testing of staff; issues facing NHS and care staff relating to workforce “burnout”; and what lessons can be learnt from the pandemic in order to support the NHS in the future. The coronavirus pandemic posed an unprecedented challenge to the NHS and social care system. The report raises concerns about the lack of effective communication strategies with patients; the substantial increase in the number of missed, delayed and cancelled appointments across critical non-COVID services; and the effect of the pandemic on the physical and mental wellbeing of the NHS and social care workforce. The report also assesses what changes should take place to support the NHS in the long-term. They include introducing an expanded 111 dial service to support A&E departments, investigating how technology (“telemedicine”) can be used without digitally excluding those already disadvantaged, and retaining capacity and resources from the independent sector in the long term.

Last updated on hub: 05 October 2020

Stress among children in England during the coronavirus lockdown

Children’s Commissioner for England

Findings of a survey to explore how children’s experience of stress had changed since lockdown began. The survey involved another panel of 2,000 children aged 8 – 17 and ran from 18th to 25th June. Overall, the frequency of feeling stressed declined during lockdown between March and June 2020. This was mainly driven by a decline in the percentage of children feeling stressed some of the time, from 47% to 34%, and an increase in children feeling stressed rarely or not at all (from 23% to 42%). However, the proportion of children experiencing stress most days or every day remained broadly consistent between the two surveys – 24% in March and 22% in June. Results from the June survey show that 26% of children reported that they had become more stressed about their mental and physical health during lockdown, while only 15% reported that they had become less stressed about this topic; 13% of children reported that they had become more stressed not having enough food or clothes during lockdown, while 26% reported that they had become less stressed about this topic; 49% of children chose ‘not being able to see my friends or relatives’ as one of their top three causes of stress during lockdown out of topics related to school or Coronavirus, while 39% of children chose ‘schoolwork I had to do whilst I was at home’ as one of their top three causes.

Last updated on hub: 05 October 2020

A new relationship between the NHS, people and communities learning from COVID-19

NHS Confederation

This report considers how the NHS can cultivate a new relationship with people, patients and communities following the pandemic. As the health and care system tackles the next phase of the pandemic, its leaders are keen to build stronger relationships with the communities they serve. The report explores how they can cultivate a new relationship and foster trust, describing how to build a new ‘health and care deal’ with communities; reflecting on patients’ perspectives and insight; examining how services communicate; emphasising the importance of supporting carers and the social care sector; and looking at the role of voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. The report argues that in the longer term, the NHS will need to extend the social contract, or ‘deal’, with the public to maintain the idea of shared responsibility. By establishing a shared responsibility for health, the health and care sector can open up essential conversations about prevention and the protection of individuals’ own health that are key to the health service’s survival over the next decade. But to introduce these ideas, there must be willingness from both the NHS and people, patients and communities to engage in this conversation. In the shorter term, with winter looming and stretching targets to restore services, the NHS and partners will need to work with communities more closely than ever before to meet local need, restore services inclusively and manage expectations.

Last updated on hub: 05 October 2020

How health and care systems can work better with VCSE partners

NHS Confederation

This briefing from the NHS Reset campaign outlines five ways integrated care systems can work with the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector to rebuild local systems and reset the way health and care are planned, commissioned and delivered. It includes case studies showing how systems are working with local VCSE organisations to support residents. Organisations across the VCSE sector are uniquely placed to support people and communities and are vitally important to COVID-19 recovery planning, supporting population health and reducing health inequalities. Deepening partnerships with VCSE organisations will be essential in supporting communities to rebuild and recover following the coronavirus outbreak. The briefing outlines five approaches to achieving greater collaboration between health and care systems and VCSE partners. These include: develop a clear and equitable role for the VCSE sector; co-design outcomes for people and communities; commit to longer-term investment in the VCSE; build on what is already there; and embed VCSE services and support in COVID-19 recovery.

Last updated on hub: 05 October 2020

As if expendable: the UK government’s failure to protect older people in care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic

Amnesty International UK

This report examines the impact of decisions, policies, and decision-making processes at the national and local level on the human rights of older people in care homes in England in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is based on interviews with 18 relatives of older people who either died in care homes or are currently living in care homes in different parts of England; nine owners, managers and staff of care homes in different parts of the country; eight staff and volunteers working in non-profit organisations advocating on behalf of care home residents and staff; three members of parliament and local authorities, and four legal and medical professionals. Among the government’ failures, the report highlights discharge of patients from hospitals into care homes; denial of access to hospitals and other medical services; misuse of ‘do not attempt resuscitation’ (DNAR) forms; inadequate access to testing; insufficient PPE and poor PPE guidance; poor, late and contradictory guidance; and failure to respond to gaps in staffing. The report also discusses the suspension of visits and failure of oversight, including the failure to wear PPE, challenges of remote communications and the devastating impact of prolonged isolation. The report argues that the UK government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic violated the human rights of older people in care homes in England and that remedial action must be taken without delay to ensure that mistakes are not repeated. It calls for a full independent public inquiry to consider the overall pandemic preparations and response in adult social care and care homes, including a full investigation into actions taken to ensure a comprehensive and timely cross-government response for social care and a review of the adequacy of the funding made available to support adult social care services and care homes in responding to the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 05 October 2020

Robotics in care: a moment of opportunity: how robotic technology can transform global social care delivery

PA Consulting Group

This report explores how robotic technology offers an opportunity to transform social care in the wake of COVID-19. The pandemic has raised the prominence of technology in care, meaning many workers now have direct experience of how it can help them do their jobs better, faster and with reduced risk. The report argues that now is the time to rethink and reset traditional care service delivery and leaders must adopt a bolder, more ambitious approach to trialling and deploying robotic technologies to help meet the social care needs of vulnerable residents beyond the crisis. The range of technologies available to leaders includes: collaborative robots (‘cobots’) – designed to be used in conjunction with human; semi-humanoid robots – smart robots with human-like characteristics to facilitate social interaction with people living with dementia or Asperger’s; robotic animals – which can serve as companions to people living with dementia or learning disabilities; digital assistants – voice-controlled devices and services that support people with care needs at home; medicine robots – automated medicine dispensers; and automated call services – to check on vulnerable people, helping local authorities remain in touch and respond sooner when a need emerges. The report describes three practical steps leaders can take to capitalise on robotic technology in earnest: define your strategy based on human outcomes; trial technologies with the aim of deploying at scale; and collaborate with the wider social care ecosystem.

Last updated on hub: 05 October 2020

International policy responses and early management of threats posed by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic to social care

Journal of Long-Term Care

Context: People with prior health conditions are susceptible to severe and sometimes fatal outcomes of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, that causes the disease COVID-19. The protection of the capacity of systems for social care was thus an important consideration for governments in the early stages of the global pandemic. Objectives: This paper reports and discusses the results of a rapid review of international early policy responses for the protection of social care systems after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that SARS-CoV-2 had evolved into a pandemic. Literature was collected in March 2020. Method: Rapid online review of government responses to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic using official government statements and press reports from 13 countries. Findings: The analysis of early responses in and about social care to the pandemic suggested an initial focus on avoiding the outbreak of the virus in care homes, with first steps being to limit visitors in these contexts and considering ways to isolate residents with symptoms or a confirmed infection. Responses to protect people receiving social care in their homes and schemes to support informal or family carers were less prominent. Limitations: Only publications in the public domain and in local languages of the 13 countries were considered for this analysis. It is possible that further strategies and responses were not made available to the public and are therefore not included, which limits this article’s scope for analysis. Implications: The findings of this article can support reflection on the trajectory of policy responses to the threats that SARS-CoV-2 poses to social care. They can thereby potentially inform planning and policy responses for enhanced pandemic preparedness and stronger social care systems in the future.

Last updated on hub: 04 October 2020

Webinar recording: COVID-19, DoLS, and Best Interests

Social Care Institute for Excellence

This webinar was chaired by Baroness Ilora Finlay and the technical host was Prof Wayne Martin and discussed COVID-19, DoLS, and best interests.

Last updated on hub: 01 October 2020

Learning from lockdown: priorities for the future

Centre for Ageing Better

This report brings together research and insight on the impact of COVID-19 on people approaching later life. It gives guidance for central government, local government and other private, public and voluntary sector organisations on how to significantly improve the prospects of those currently in their 50s and 60s, who make up around a quarter of the population in England. It looks specifically at how to build health resilience, including in relation to weight control, physical activity and healthy homes; and how to build economic activity, focusing on tailoring unemployment support, retaining and retraining older workers, and redesigning town centres and the high street. Arguing that these twin and interconnected aims of health resilience and economic growth should be at the heart of recovery, the report suggests ways to ‘lock in’ the positives seen during the pandemic, based on sustaining community participation; and bridging the digital divide. It makes a case for ensuring people approaching later life are part of the recovery success story – in good, flexible work, enjoying better health, in homes that keep them safe, and connected to their communities. Action taken now to support this group will have long-lasting benefits, both for them and for future generations.

Last updated on hub: 01 October 2020

Worst hit: dementia during coronavirus

Alzheimer's Society

This report brings together evidence from a wide range of sources to shine a light on the impact of Covid-19 on people who have dementia and those who care for them. It evidences the disproportionate death toll on people with dementia; the surge in loneliness and isolation; and the current inability of the health and care services to cope with the consequences of the pandemic. The report reveals that the most direct and devastating impact of Covid-19 on people affected by dementia is the high death rate – between 1 March and 30 June there were 50,335 Covid-19 related deaths in England and Wales. Furthermore, the restrictions on social contact put in place to slow the spread of Covid-19 had an impact across the population, but were particularly detrimental for people with dementia – for many people with dementia living at home, social distancing guidelines combined with the reduction or cancellation of home care services meant they were left without vital social interaction and support; in residential settings, the cancellation of visits, group activities and communal dining added to the isolation that people experienced. Finally, the rerouting of resources for health and social care towards acute settings and the inability of services to operate as normal due to lockdown measures left people affected by dementia without vital support. The report calls for care (including specialist dementia care) to be universal and free at the point of use and makes specific recommendations to help mitigate against the effects of Covid-19 as winter approaches; and to provide tailored support for people affected by dementia, including recognising the key role that informal carers play in the lives of people living with dementia.

Last updated on hub: 01 October 2020