COVID-19 resources

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Effect of the COVID‐19 pandemic on the mental health of carers of people with intellectual disabilities

Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

Introduction: The measures implemented to manage the COVID‐19 pandemic have been shown to impair mental health. This problem is likely to be exacerbated for carers. Method: Informal carers (mainly parents) of children and adults with intellectual disabilities, and a comparison group of parents of children without disabilities, completed an online questionnaire. Almost all the data were collected while strict lockdown conditions were in place. Results: Relative to carers of children without intellectual disability, carers of both children and adults with intellectual disability had significantly greater levels of a wish fulfilment coping style, defeat/entrapment, anxiety, and depression. Differences were 2–3 times greater than reported in earlier pre‐pandemic studies. Positive correlations were found between objective stress scores and all mental health outcomes. Despite their greater mental health needs, carers of those with intellectual disability received less social support from a variety of sources. Conclusions: The greater mental health needs of carers in the context of lesser social support raises serious concerns. We consider the policy implications of these findings.

Last updated on hub: 03 November 2020

Effects of COVID-19 related restrictive measures on parents of children with developmental difficulties

Journal of Children's Services

Purpose: Social distancing and school closures have changed the lives of many parents around the globe. In addition to these problems, parents of children with developmental difficulties (DD) have faced additional stressors that make them even more susceptible to higher stress levels and the onset or worsening of anxiety or depression. Consequentially, these stressors may have an indirect effect on parental functioning and children with DD owing to the spillover effect. Design/methodology/approach: The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to parents of children with DD through an overview of possible additional stressors that have appeared during the coronavirus pandemic in Croatia. In writing this viewpoint paper, three sources were consulted: official state documents, communication with professionals (e.g. speech therapists) and online support groups for parents of children with DD. Findings: Restrictive measures during the lockdown led to a lack of both formal and informal support for parents of children with DD. Moreover, the possibility of infection led to higher levels of fear among these parents; children with DD also encountered problems coping with both the restrictive measures and the demands of distance learning. Practical implications: This paper may present a good starting point for both governments and NGOs when discussing and planning further advancement in the quality of response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a “recovery” response after the crisis. This overview may provide better insight into COVID-19–related consequences among parents of children with DD, which is vital to increasing the effectiveness of future measures and actions. Originality/value: Although some negative effects of the pandemic on children have already been discussed by several authors, little attention has been paid to parents, and even less so to parents of children with DD. This paper may even represent a pioneering work in exploring the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on this population group.

Last updated on hub: 30 December 2020

Effects of the pandemic on the Housing First Pilots and service users: findings from weekly calls during the lockdown period: final report

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

This report provides evidence on the experience of delivering the Housing First Pilots during the Covid-19 pandemic. Housing First is an intervention which supports homeless people with multiple and complex needs to access and maintain independent housing. The report sets out reflections from Housing First Pilot staff and from service users about the challenges involved in adapting service delivery and the key lessons learnt. The findings are based on interviews conducted over a 12 week period of lockdown and subsequent easing of restrictions. The interviews covered a range of themes to help improve understanding of how the lockdown and social distancing impacted on service delivery, service users and staff experiences, and on the ability to access external support services. Throughout the 12-weeks of consultations with Pilot staff, several key issues were identified as significant challenges faced by all Pilots, including: continuing to provide a high quality of service to service users whilst under lockdown – including keeping in touch with service users who struggle to engage and where there are barriers to engagement; keeping service users and staff safe whilst still delivering support; communication within support teams, and between support and strategic teams; disruption to service users’ routines and formal/informal support networks; service user access to mental health support and medical treatment; emotional needs of staff during lockdown, owing to a mix of professional and domestic stressors; disruption to supply of, and access to, suitable housing (including issues with supplying furnishings and white goods).

Last updated on hub: 11 January 2021

Efficacy of a test-retest strategy in residents and health care personnel of a nursing home facing a COVID-19 outbreak

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

Objective: To assess the American Testing Guidance for Nursing Homes (NHs)—updated May 19, 2020—with a new COVID-19 case. Design: Case investigation. Setting and Subjects: All 79 residents and 34 health care personnel (HCP) of an NH. Methods: Seven days after identification of a COVID-19 resident, all residents and HCP underwent real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) testing for SARS-CoV-2 with nasopharyngeal swabs. This was repeated weekly in all previously negative subjects until the testing identified no new cases, and in all positive subjects until the testing was negative. COVID-19 infection prevention and control (IPC) measures were implemented in all residents and HCP with positive testing or with COVID-19 symptoms. Standard IPC was also implemented in all HCP. Six weeks after initial testing, all residents underwent testing for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay–based IgG antibodies directed against the SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms were serially recorded in residents and HCP. Results: A total of 36 residents had a positive rRT-PCR at baseline and 2 at day 7. Six HCP had a positive rRT-PCR at baseline and 2 at day 7. No new COVID-19 cases were diagnosed later. Among the SARS-CoV-2–positive cases, 6 residents (16%) and 3 HCP (37%) were asymptomatic during the 14 days before testing. Twenty-five residents (92.3%) and all 8 HCP (100%) with a positive rRT-PCR developed IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Among the residents and HCP always having tested negative, 2 (5%) and 5 (11.5%), respectively, developed IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. These 2 residents had typical COVID-19 symptoms before and after testing and 2/5 HCP were asymptomatic before and after testing. Conclusions and Implications: This study shows the validity of the updated American Testing Guidance for Nursing Homes (NHs). It suggests implementing COVID-19 IPC in both residents and HCP with positive testing or COVID-19 symptoms and warns that asymptomatic HCP with repeated negative rRT-PCR testing can develop antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

Last updated on hub: 21 August 2020

Emergency Code of Practice: Coronavirus Act 2020 Mental Capacity (Deprivation of Liberty) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020

Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Northern Ireland

The Coronavirus Act 2020 and temporary Regulations makes amendments to the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 and the supporting Regulations. The temporary provisions relax some of the requirements of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency, to ensure that persons can still be deprived of liberty during the pandemic crisis when staff availability may be significantly reduced. This Code of Practice provides practical guidance on how the amendments operate. Emergency forms and a reporting template for Health and Social Care Trusts have also been created.

Last updated on hub: 28 April 2020

Emerging evidence on COVID-19’s impact on mental health and health inequalities

The Health Foundation

Considers how mental health is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and examines the drivers of worsening mental health during the crisis, including social isolation, job and financial losses, housing insecurity and quality, working in a front-line service, loss of coping mechanisms, and reduced access to mental health services. The article argues that the unequal impacts of the pandemic may lead to a widening of pre-existing health inequalities, as well as affecting people who have not previously experienced poor mental health.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Emerging evidence: coronavirus and children and young people's mental health: issue 1

Evidence Based Practice Unit

A rapid review of the evidence on the key mental health challenges for children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how parents, carers, and professionals can help them to manage and minimise these challenges. It is the first of a series of reviews and covers evidence found from 1st January 2020 to 4th May 2020. The review finds that the key mental health challenges for children and young people during the pandemic include: the pandemic can influence many different aspects of mental health and may have longer-term consequences; higher than usual levels of stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms and fear have been found in children and young people; mental health challenges during the pandemic have been attributed to several events or conditions including school closures, increased time away from peers, health concerns, and media over-exposure. Support for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing may include: promoting healthy habits such as sleeping well and daily exercise, recreating routines at home, and having clear and honest conversations about their child’s worries; small, daily acts can help promote health and emotional wellbeing in the home; teachers play a vital role in care and advocacy of positive mental health. In terms of support for those with mental health conditions, the most effective support will be adaptable and responsive to the evolving stages of the pandemic, and will involve a collaborative network which includes families, education, social care and health.

Last updated on hub: 28 September 2020

Emerging evidence: coronavirus and children and young people's mental health: issue 2

Evidence Based Practice Unit

A rapid review of the evidence on the key mental health challenges for children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how parents, carers, and professionals can help them to manage and minimise these challenges. It is the second of a series of reviews and captures research published between 5th May 2020 and 24th May 2020. The evidence suggests that the nature and duration of the pandemic and lockdown measures are having significant impacts on children and young people’s mental health, contributing to the onset as well as exacerbation of worry, fear, anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress. Children with pre-existing mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions and children from minority ethnic groups are at greater risk of mental health problems during the pandemic. Several social and economic factors (e.g. poverty, separation from parents and carers, domestic violence) make some young people more vulnerable to the mental health challenges of the pandemic. Researchers are emphasising the importance of monitoring the impact of the pandemic on children and young people’s mental health. As stresses and conflicting responsibilities increase, those supporting children and young people should also prioritise their own self-care in order to support the mental health and wellbeing of their families.

Last updated on hub: 28 September 2020

Emerging evidence: coronavirus and children and young people's mental health: issue 3

Evidence Based Practice Unit

A rapid review of the evidence on the key mental health challenges for children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how parents, carers, and professionals can help them to manage and minimise these challenges. It is the third of a series of reviews and captures research identified between 25th May and 14th June 2020. Key mental health challenges for children and young people during the pandemic include: mental health difficulties such as anxiety and depression have markedly increased; feelings of panic, stress, fear and fatigue amid uncertainty and a lack of control among young people are also widespread; disruption to young people’s ‘sense of control’ and ‘sense of meaning’ has contributed to growing stress and anxiety; concerns about returning to schools and colleges are also common; family dynamics, learning and education, financial stressors, social isolation and loneliness are all stressors contributing to poor mental health during the pandemic. For some, the pandemic has had positive mental health impacts due to a sense of support and potentially reduced stressors, such as social pressures at school.

Last updated on hub: 28 September 2020

Enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

This guidance aims to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 23 November 2020