COVID-19 resources

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Five key insights on COVID-19 and adult social care

The Health Foundation

Summarises key messages emerging from recent reports on COVID-19 and adult social care. The messages include: the impact of COVID-19 on social care has been devastating; there are multiple possible reasons for outbreaks in care homes; access to hospital and social care were reduced; central government support for social care was too slow and too narrow; the pandemic played out against a backdrop of political neglect.

Last updated on hub: 04 August 2020

Personal assistants returning from shielding

Mark Bates Ltd

Fact sheet offering support to people who employ personal assistants with regards to their employee returning to work, following the lifting of shielding measures by the Government.

Last updated on hub: 04 August 2020

A Spending Review for wellbeing

The Health Foundation

This policy briefing sets out evidence-based priorities for how the Spending Review can improve the nation’s mental health and tackle mental health inequalities, focusing on how areas of public spending outside of NHS revenue funding (already agreed) can be used to greatest effect. Mental ill health has an economic and social cost of £119 billion a year, as measured in health spending, output losses and human capital. The coronavirus pandemic, and the necessary steps the Government has taken to save lives, will have profound and lasting effects on the public’s mental health. The briefing estimates that at least half a million more people will experience a mental health difficulty this year as a result, making a Spending Review for wellbeing essential for the future health of the nation. The briefing sets out six key proposals for improving mental health in England, including committing to a cross-government approach to better mental health; investing urgently in local authority public health services; expanding access to evidence-based parenting interventions; committing to a fair and sustainable long-term social care settlement; earmarking capital funding for the NHS to update its mental health estate; and funding specialist counselling for parents who have been bereaved by still birth or baby loss.

Last updated on hub: 03 August 2020

Adult social care and COVID-19: assessing the impact on social care users and staff in England so far

The Health Foundation

An overview of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social care in England, describing how the pandemic unfolded in the social care sector from March until June 2020, and examining the factors that contributed to the scale and severity of outbreaks in care homes. The briefing also attempts to quantify the disruption to health and social care access from February until the end of April 2020. The findings demonstrate that the pandemic has had a profound impact on people receiving and providing social care in England – since March, there have been more than 30,500 deaths among care home residents than it would be normally expected, and a further 4,500 excess deaths among people receiving care in their own homes (domiciliary care); and while deaths in care homes have now returned to average levels for this time of year, the latest data (up until 19 June) shows that there have continued to be excess deaths reported among domiciliary care users. Social care workers are among the occupational groups at highest risk of COVID-19 mortality, with care home workers and home carers accounting for the highest proportion (76%) of COVID-19 deaths within this group. The analysis also shows that there was a substantial reduction in hospital admissions among care home residents which may have helped reduce the risk of transmission but potentially increased unmet health needs. The briefing argues that long-standing structural issues have exacerbated the crisis in social care and hindered the response to the pandemic. It suggests that action is needed now to prevent further harm including by filling the gaps in data, particularly for those receiving domiciliary care, and by developing a new data strategy for social care.

Last updated on hub: 03 August 2020

Adult social care and COVID-19: assessing the policy response in England so far

The Health Foundation

An analysis of national government policies on adult social care in England related to COVID-19 between 31 January and 31 May 2020. This briefing considers the role that social care has played in the overall policy narrative and identifies the underlying factors within the social care system, such as its structure and funding, that have shaped its ability to respond. It suggests that overall, central government support for social care came too late – some initial policies targeted the social care sector in March but the government's COVID-19: adult social care action plan was not published until 15 April and another month passed before the government introduced a dedicated fund to support infection control in care homes. Protecting and strengthening social care services, and stuff, appears to have been given far lower priority by national policymakers than protecting the NHS and policy action on social care has been focused primarily on care homes and risks leaving out other vulnerable groups and services. The briefing calls on the Government to learn from the first phase of the COVID-19 response to prepare for potential future waves of the virus. Short-term actions should include greater involvement of social care in planning and decision making, improved access to regular testing and PPE, and a commitment to cover the costs of local government’s COVID-19 response. Critically, more fundamental reform of the social care system is needed to address the longstanding policy failures exacerbated by COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 03 August 2020

Life on hold: children’s well-being and COVID-19

The Children's Society

The report combines findings from the Children’s Society’s annual household survey conducted in April-June 2020 with over 2,000 young people aged 10-17, and a consultation with 150 children, seeking more in-depth information on the impact of Coronavirus and the associated lockdown on their lives. Parents report a wide range of impacts on their family, and on their children’s happiness with friends and how much choice they have in life and anticipate long term negative impacts on their children’s education. Encouragingly, given the range of impacts reported, only around half expect a long-term negative impact on the happiness of adults / children in the household. Most children reported having coped to some degree with the changes made as a result of the pandemic but felt the impact of not being able to see their friends and family and felt isolated. While most children are happy / satisfied, a greater proportion than usual scored below the midpoint on the preferred, and usually stable, multi-item measure of life satisfaction, which suggests that some children’s cognitive wellbeing has been adversely affected. Parents felt that some children were happier with their time use than before lockdown and children responding to the consultation also highlighted advantages, such as being able to pursue hobbies, and appreciating more what they have in life. The self-care strategies described by children are reminiscent of the Five Ways to Wellbeing, with their main focus being on connecting with others followed by being active and creative.

Last updated on hub: 03 August 2020

The impact of technology in adult social care provider services

Institute of Public Care

A rapid action research and analysis of adult social care provider services to share learning on how technology is being used during the Covid-19 pandemic, and to capture the barriers, enabling factors and benefits of adopting technology. A new helpline to support the adult social care sector to use technology was set up by Digital Social Care during the pandemic and the Institute of Public Care undertook telephone interviews with helpline callers who opted-in to the action research and with other sector stakeholders. The findings show that the number of visitors to the Digital Social Care website more than doubled from the end of February to the end of April 2020, reflecting the rapid increase in social care providers starting to use NHSmail, video conferencing and other digital technologies. This rapid onboarding and digital adoption was not without problems, resulting in very variable experiences for providers. In particular, the process for application, registration and activation of NHSmail is still challenging and slow for many care providers, even with the simplified requirements. The report calls for a coordinated approach to ensure digital adoption and innovation continues, is sustained and becomes the new normal. This should include recognising the scale of the support needed by the sector to adopt digital technology safely and broadening NHS digital support and engagement to include homecare, extra care and supported living providers to realise benefits for vulnerable people living in the community.

Last updated on hub: 03 August 2020

The experience of people approaching later life in lockdown: the impact of COVID-19 on 50-70-year olds in England

Ipsos MORI

Explores how people in their 50s and 60s experienced the COVID-19 pandemic; the future expectations and intentions of this age group, and how have these been shaped by the pandemic; and the implications of this for a future policy agenda. The report, which focuses on home and community, health and wellbeing and work and money, draws on a literature review exploring the latest evidence in relation to these policy areas; a survey of 1,000 people aged 50-70-years within England; and a longitudinal qualitative research with 19 purposively selected participants designed to reflect a range of different experiences. The findings highlight the correlation between age and health outcomes during the pandemic – there was a decline in physical health for one in five respondents while more than a third said their mental health got worse. Overall, the report finds that the lockdown has been tough on some – many people have seen their health deteriorate with more unhealthy behaviours, and more than two in five fear their finances will worsen in the year to come. But there have also been some positive changes, with many appreciating the time spent with family, helping their communities, a better work-life balance, and time to reflect on their careers and future. The report stresses that as the lockdown restrictions ease it will still take time for things to get back to normal – the data shows that two in five respondents think that it will take at least one to two years or longer.

Last updated on hub: 03 August 2020

Readying the NHS and social care for the COVID-19 peak

House of Commons

An examination of the health and social care response to COVID-19 in England and of the challenges to the services that the outbreak posed. The NHS was severely stretched but able to meet overall demand for COVID-19 treatment during the pandemic’s April peak; from early March to mid-May, the NHS increased the quantity of available ventilators and other breathing support, which are essential for the care of many COVID-patients. The report suggests that it has been a very different story for adult social care, despite the hard work and commitment of its workforce. Years of inattention, funding cuts and delayed reforms have been compounded by the Government’s slow, inconsistent and, at times, negligent approach to giving the sector the support it needed during the pandemic – responsibilities and accountabilities were unclear at the outset and there has been a failure to issue consistent and coherent guidance throughout the pandemic; 25,000 patients from were discharged from hospitals into care homes without making sure all were first tested for COVID-19; and the Government failed to provide adequate PPE for the social care sector and testing to the millions of staff and volunteers through the first peak of the crisis. The report argues that there are many lessons that the government must learn, not least giving adult social care equal support to the NHS and considering them as two parts of a single system, adequately funded and with clear accountability arrangements.

Last updated on hub: 03 August 2020

Introduction to Safeguarding Adult Reviews (SARs) In Rapid Time

Social Care Institute for Excellence

SCIE discusses the need for a rapid review process to enable system learning that is identified and shared beyond the location of the incident.

Last updated on hub: 31 July 2020