COVID-19 resources

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The role of coping, wellbeing and work-related quality of life of UK health and social care workers during COVID-19

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was declared a global pandemic in early 2020. Due to the rapid spread of the virus and limited availability of effective treatments, health and social care systems worldwide quickly became overwhelmed. Such stressful circumstances are likely to have negative impacts on health and social care workers’ wellbeing. The current study examined the relationship between coping strategies and wellbeing and quality of working life in nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, social care workers and social workers who worked in health and social care in the UK during its first wave of COVID-19. Data were collected using an anonymous online survey (N = 3425), and regression analyses were used to examine the associations of coping strategies and demographic characteristics with staff wellbeing and quality of working life. The results showed that positive coping strategies, particularly active coping and help-seeking, were associated with higher wellbeing and better quality of working life. Negative coping strategies, such as avoidance, were risk factors for low wellbeing and worse quality of working life. The results point to the importance of organizational and management support during stressful times, which could include psycho-education and training about active coping and might take the form of workshops designed to equip staff with better coping skills.

Last updated on hub: 11 February 2021

The National Academy of medicine social care framework and COVID-19 care innovations

Journal of General Internal Medicine

Despite social care interventions gaining traction in the US healthcare sector in recent years, the scaling of healthcare practices to address social adversity and coordinate care across sectors has been modest. Against this backdrop, the coronavirus pandemic arrived, which re-emphasized the interdependence of the health and social care sectors and motivated health systems to scale tools for identifying and addressing social needs. A framework on integrating social care into health care delivery developed by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine provides a useful organizing tool to understand the social care integration innovations spurred by COVID-19, including novel approaches to social risk screening and social care interventions. As the effects of the pandemic are likely to exacerbate socioeconomic barriers to health, it is an appropriate time to apply lessons learned during the recent months to re-evaluate efforts to strengthen, scale, and sustain the health care sector’s social care activities.

Last updated on hub: 10 February 2021

Ethnic differences in COVID-19 mortality during the first two waves of the coronavirus pandemic: a nationwide cohort study of 29 million adults in England

medRxiv

Background: Ethnic minorities have experienced disproportionate COVID-19 mortality rates in the UK and many other countries. We compared the differences in the risk of COVID-19 related death between ethnic groups in the first and second waves the of COVID-19 pandemic in England. We also investigated whether the factors explaining differences in COVID-19 death between ethnic groups changed between the two waves. Methods: Using data from the Office for National Statistics Public Health Data Asset on individuals aged 30-100 years living in private households, we conducted an observational cohort study to examine differences in the risk of death involving COVID-19 between ethnic groups in the first wave (from 24th January 2020 until 31st August 2020) and second wave (from 1st September to 28th December 2020). We estimated age-standardised mortality rates (ASMR) in the two waves stratified by ethnic groups and sex. We also estimated hazard ratios (HRs) for ethnic-minority groups compared with the White British population, adjusted for geographical factors, socio-demographic characteristics, and pre-pandemic health conditions. Results: The study population included over 28.9 million individuals aged 30-100 years living in private households. In the first wave, all ethnic minority groups had a higher risk of COVID-19 related death compared to the White British population. In the second wave, the risk of COVID-19 death remained elevated for people from Pakistani (ASMR: 339.9 [95% CI: 303.7 – 376.2] and 166.8 [141.7 – 191.9] deaths per 100,000 population in men and women) and Bangladeshi (318.7 [247.4 – 390.1] and 127.1 [91.1 – 171.3] in men and women)background but not for people from Black ethnic groups. Adjustment for geographical factors explained a large proportion of the differences in COVID-19 mortality in the first wave but not in the second wave. Despite an attenuation of the elevated risk of COVID-19 mortality after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and health status, the risk was substantially higher in people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani background in both the first and the second waves. Conclusion: Between the first and second waves of the pandemic, the reduction in the difference in COVID-19 mortality between people from Black ethnic background and people from the White British group shows that ethnic inequalities in COVID-19 mortality can be addressed. The continued higher rate of mortality in people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani background is alarming and requires focused public health campaign and policy changes.

Last updated on hub: 10 February 2021

COVID-19: Government procurement and supply of Personal Protective Equipment. Forty-second report of session 2019–21

House of Commons

Findings of an enquiry into the Government procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic and the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). The shortages of personal protective equipment at the front-line in the first wave of the pandemic was one of the biggest concerns in March and April 2020. As well as NHS front line workers there were others front-line workers who required high grade PPE – particularly in social care settings, which were mainly private businesses. The evidence suggests that stocks ran perilously low; single use items were reused; some was not fit for purpose and staff were in fear that they would run out. Government faced significant challenges in having to work at pace, using emergency procurement procedures, in a competitive international market. However, its failure to be transparent about decisions, publish contracts in a timely manner or maintain proper records of key decisions left it open to accusations of poor value for money, conflicts of interest and preferential treatment of some suppliers, and undermines public trust in government procurement and the use of taxpayers’ money. The Government’s decision to prioritise hospitals meant social care providers did not receive anywhere near enough to meet their needs, leaving them exposed. Many workers at the front line in health and social care were put in the appalling situation of having to care for people with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 without sufficient PPE to protect themselves from infection. The report calls on the Department of Health and Social Care to develop a better understanding of the needs of both NHS organisations and, crucially, allied health and social care sectors.

Last updated on hub: 10 February 2021

Making an impact: small and medium-sized voluntary sector organisations’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic

King's Fund

Describes how small and medium-sized voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations are responding to the pandemic, supporting communities that have significantly poorer health outcomes and worse experiences of using health and care services than others. The Covid-19 pandemic has compounded these inequalities, with some groups experiencing both much higher transmission and much higher mortality rates than others.

Last updated on hub: 10 February 2021

How social care providers have dealt with data demands during the COVID-19 pandemic: report to Skills for Care

researchpartners

Findings from a research study, which explored how social care providers had collected and shared data during the COVID-19 pandemic. Twelve providers from across five English regions participated in the project and this report details their views and experiences. Social care providers have been required to respond to considerable data demands so that intelligence can be gathered about COVID-19 impacts on the sector at a local, regional, and national level. Providers understand this, but also feel that there are ways in which communication between them and those who need their data could be improved and the processes for data sharing streamlined. Providers described a range of challenges associated with data sharing during the pandemic, such as: the 'relentlessness' of responding to daily requests which could have a significant effect on their working day; interpreting frequently changing guidance and communicating these changes to staff, service users and their families; dealing with new and changing data demands; and receiving frequent and unscheduled phone calls requesting data. Several providers questioned the extent to which the data they provided was being used, and whether some data items could be sent in less frequently, particularly when in practical terms they were unlikely to change day-to-day. Providers felt that more could be done to reduce the data burden on them and highlighted three main ways that this could be achieved: greater coordination of the data requests made to individual providers; more prioritisation of the information providers are asked to share; and more streamlined communication with them. Social care providers must be treated as full partners in the data sharing chain. Too often during this difficult period they have not felt listened to or valued. Partners need to be incentivised by the data sharing process through a greater understanding of why data is being collected, and how it is helping.

Last updated on hub: 10 February 2021

The idiosyncratic impact of an aggregate shock: the distributional consequences of COVID-19

Understanding Society

Using new data from the Understanding Society: COVID 19 survey collected in April 2020, we show how the aggregate shock caused by the pandemic affects individuals across the distribution. The survey collects data from existing members of the Understanding Society panel survey who have been followed for up to 10 years. Understanding Society is based on probability samples and the Understanding Society COVID19 Survey is carefully constructed to support valid population inferences. Further, the panel allows comparisons with a pre-pandemic baseline. We document how the shock of the pandemic translates into different economic shocks for different types of worker: those with less education and precarious employment face the biggest economic shocks. Some of those affected are able to mitigate the impact of the economic shocks: universal credit protects those in the bottom quintile, for example. We estimate the prevalence of the different measures individuals and households take to mitigate the shocks. We show that the opportunities for mitigation are most limited for those in need.

Last updated on hub: 09 February 2021

Social work and Covid-19: lessons for education and practice

Critical Publishing

Captures the unique moment in time created by the Covid-19 pandemic and uses this as a lens to explore contemporary issues for social work education and practice. The 2020 coronavirus pandemic provided an unprecedented moment of global crisis, which placed health and social care at the forefront of the national agenda. The lockdown, social distancing measures and rapid move to online working created multiple challenges and safeguarding concerns for social work education and practice, whilst the unparalleled death rate exacerbated pre-existing problems with communicating openly about death and bereavement. Many of these issues were already at the surface of social work practice and education and this book examines how the health crisis has exposed these, whilst acting as a potential catalyst for change. This book acts as a testament to the historical moment whilst providing a forum for drawing together discussion from contemporary educators, practitioners and users of social work services.

Last updated on hub: 09 February 2021

COVID-19, social care and human rights: impact monitoring report

Scottish Human Rights Commission

This report shares the findings of research into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it has been managed, on people’s rights in the context of care at home and support in the community. It details how legislative, policy and practice decisions taken by public authorities have affected the rights of people who access, or wish to access social care, unpaid carers, and people who work in social care. Evidence from this research, assessed against the relevant human rights standards, shows the following: COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the way in which social care support has been delivered in Scotland, leading to significant gaps in the realisation of rights for people who rely on such support, including unpaid carers; a considerable proportion of people who use social care support at home have experienced either a reduction or complete withdrawal of support; the impact of this policy and practice has had a direct and detrimental effect on people’s rights; the Commission is deeply concerned about the future social care support available to people whose packages were reduced or withdrawn over the period; the COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated pre-existing inadequacies in the models of social care access, funding, procurement and commissioning; legislative changes as a result of the pandemic have been poorly explained, and implementation of the legislation lacks transparency; it is clear that there is a need to strengthen the framework of decision making in social care, through applying a rights based approach; there is an opportunity to invest in a social care system, based on human rights, capable of delivering the outcomes which are enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the international human rights legal framework should inform the provision of social care much more strongly, including through the integration of health and social care.

Last updated on hub: 09 February 2021

Covid-19 pandemic: surge planning strategic framework

Northern Ireland. Department of Health

This surge planning strategic framework provides the overall structure and parameters within which Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland will develop plans for managing the response to COVID-19 in the event of further waves. Medical surge capacity refers to the ability to evaluate and care for a significantly increased volume of patients – one that challenges or exceeds normal operating capacity. This framework: highlights important learning from the first wave; sets out the Government's approach to surveillance and modelling; reviews actions to minimise COVID-19 transmission and impact; summarises key regional initiatives to organise health and social care services to facilitate effective service delivery; highlights actions around the key issues of workforce, medicines and testing; and confirms a number of principles for HSC Trusts to adopt when developing their individual surge plans.

Last updated on hub: 09 February 2021

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