COVID-19 resources

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Telephone befriending: a valuable service during lockdown

Healthwatch Enfield

This report gives a brief overview of the telephone befriending scheme set up in the London Borough of Enfield during the Coronavirus pandemic and a snapshot of issues raised by residents identified as being vulnerable or at risk. Overall, Healthwatch Enfield volunteers made 413 telephone befriending calls during this period. The main issue raised by participants was the impact of social isolation on health and wellbeing including mental health issues, with those residents with ongoing health needs being particularly concerned. Recipients appreciated food parcels and medicines delivery but also valued the support of family and neighbours. Most of the recipients were pleased to receive the calls and a core continued to receive these throughout the period. The report suggests that the scheme should be continued if people request it, with established organisations being asked to support the calls. If or when a second wave arises, arrangements should be made to re-establish the full service.

Last updated on hub: 01 September 2020

West Midlands inquiry into COVID-19 fatalities in the BAME community

COVID-19 BAME Evidence Gathering Taskforce

Findings from the Labour Party-led COVID-19 BAME Evidence Gathering Taskforce, which was established to gather the evidence on the impact of Covid-19 on black and minority ethnic communities in the West Midlands. The report indicates that men and women in the black community have been over four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white people (4.2 and 4.3 times respectively). Men of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin were 3.6 times more likely to have a Covid-19 related death, while the figure for women was 3.4 times more likely. Key findings include: fear of inequitable treatment that might be received in the NHS was a deterrent for many in the BAME asking for help quickly enough; the BAME community experienced an NHS and care system that was overwhelmed, despite the heroism of our frontline NHS workers, many of whom were themselves from the BAME community; public health messages about symptoms or what to do when in need were poorly communicated to BAME communities; the voice of the BAME community has not been heard in the way the health services are designed and delivered; many BAME frontline workers had direct experience of inadequate provision of PPE with some having to make protective equipment themselves; a clear strategy for understanding the scientific evidence for the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the BAME community has not been communicated effectively. The report makes a number of recommendations and calls on the Government to commence a formal judge-led independent public inquiry into the Covid-19 fatalities in the BAME community and to consult with BAME communities on both the Chair and the Terms of Reference.

Last updated on hub: 01 September 2020

Vulnerable children and young people survey: summary of returns waves 1 to 8

Department for Education

Summary of a survey of local authorities in England to help understand the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak on children’s social care. The analysis in the survey covers: contact with children supported by the local authority children’s social care; children’s social care workforce; cost pressures; and system pressures. The analysis reveals that the majority of children looked after (CLA), children on a child protection plan (CPP) and other children in need (CIN) have had their cases reviewed in light of the Covid-19 outbreak (95%, 96% and 86% respectively); the proportion of social workers not working due to Covid-19 has reduced over the time period, with 4% of local authorities reporting over 10% of social workers unavailable due to Covid-19 in Wave 8, compared to 13% in Wave 1; around four in five local authorities have reported a rise in weekly foster and residential placements costs due to Covid-19 (82% and 83% respectively in Wave 8); the total number of referrals during Wave 8 was 12% higher than the usual number of referrals in the same period over the past three years; referrals from police, individuals and health services were higher in Wave 8 than the same week in 2018 (+24%, +20% and +6% respectively); the total number of referrals reported in Waves 1 to 8 of the survey was 82,940 – this is around 15% lower than the same period over the past three years; the total number of children who have started to be looked after reported in Waves 1 to 8 of the survey was 3,460 – this is around 33% lower than the same period over the past three years.

Last updated on hub: 01 September 2020

Vulnerable children and young people survey: summary of returns waves 1 to 4

Department for Education

Summary of a survey of local authorities in England to help understand the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak on children’s social care. The analysis in the survey covers: contact with children supported by the local authority children’s social care; children’s social care workforce; cost pressures; and system pressures. The analysis reveals that the majority of children looked after, children on a child protection plan and other children in need have had their cases reviewed in light of the outbreak (89%, 91% and 86% respectively); the proportion of social workers not working due to the pandemic has remained stable across the time period, with between 87% and 89% of local authorities reporting between 0 to 10% of social workers unavailable due to coronavirus; just over three quarters of local authorities have reported a rise in foster and residential placements costs due to the pandemic; in Wave 4 the average number of referrals to children’s social care services per local authority was 12% lower than the same period over the previous three years – this compares to 22% lower in Wave 3; the total number of referrals reported in Waves 1 to 4 of the survey was 41,190 – this is around 18% lower than the same period over the past three years; the total number of children who have started to be looked after reported in Waves 1 to 4 of the survey was 1,640 – this is around 34% lower than the same period over the past three years.

Last updated on hub: 01 September 2020

Children's social care: Government consultation response

Department for Education

Sets out the Government’s response to a consultation seeking views on proposed changes to the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. These are intended to provide flexibilities to support the effective delivery of children’s social care services, whilst ensuring children’s safety. A majority of responses were in favour of each of the proposals to extend individual regulations on medical reports, virtual visits, and the continued suspension of the regular cycle of Ofsted inspections of children’s services providers. The majority of responses also agreed that all other temporary flexibilities introduced in April 2020 should lapse and the need to introduce additional safeguards. However, many consultees also raised concerns in the way the regulations were introduced, and many felt the regulations should not be extended and should be revoked immediately. On the basis of responses to the consultation the Government has decided to continue with plans to allow the majority of regulations to lapse on 25 September, save those specifically set out in this document, on medical assessments, virtual visits and Ofsted inspections. The Government has no plans to extend the regulations beyond March 2021.

Last updated on hub: 01 September 2020

Evaluating the importance of scale in proposals for local government reorganisation

Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP

The purpose of this report is to consider the importance of scale in proposals for local government reorganisation. Throughout the report, the implications for the organisation and delivery of children and adults’ social care services are discussed. The report identifies considerations relating to the costs associated with disaggregation; what this might mean in terms of risk and resilience of service provision; how service performance might be impacted; what it could mean for the place agenda; and issues arising from the response to Covid-19. It also sets out the financial implications of four unitary scenarios: establishing one unitary authority in every two-tier area in England; establishing two new unitary authorities in every two-tier area in England; establishing three new unitary authorities in every two-tier area in England; and establishing two new unitary authorities and a children’s trust in every two-tier area in England.

Last updated on hub: 01 September 2020

Expanding frontiers of risk management: care safety in nursing home during COVID-19 pandemic

International Journal for Quality in Health Care

Background: Nursing homes provide long-term care and have residential-oriented hospitalizations characterized by medical, nursing, and social-care treatments for a typically geriatric population. In the current emergency phase, the problem of infections in residential structures for the elderly is taking on considerable importance in relation to the significant prevalence rates of COVID-19. Safety improvement strategies: Prevention and control measures for SARS-CoV-2 infection in nursing homes should be planned before a possible outbreak of COVID-19 occurs and should be intensified during any exacerbation of the same. Each facility should identify a properly trained contact person—also external—for the prevention and control of infections, who can refer to a multidisciplinary support committee and who is in close contact with the local health authorities. The contact person should collaborate with professionals in order to prepare a prevention and intervention plan that considers national provisions and scientific evidence, the requirements for reporting patients with symptoms compatible with COVID-19, the indications for the management of suspected, probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Discussion: Adequate risk management in residential structures implies the establishment of a coordination committee with dedicated staff, the implementation of a surveillance program for the rapid recognition of the outbreaks, the identification of suitable premises and equipment, the application of universal precautions, the adaptation of care plans to reduce the possibility of contagion among residents, the protection of operators and staff training initiatives.

Last updated on hub: 31 August 2020

The need for community practice to support aging in place during COVID-19

Journal of Gerontological Social Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted systems that support older adults, including older adults aging in their own homes and communities. While much of the calls for gerontological social work practice in response have rightfully focused on direct service provision for health care and basic needs, innovative responses from advocacy and professional organizations, as well as grassroots community groups, have demonstrated the importance of community practice in aging as well. Social work leadership in aging and communities is especially important for addressing issues of equity, inclusion, and meaningful participation across diverse stakeholder groups as local and regional authorities, as well as grassroots groups and community-based organizations, respond to the pandemic. Heightened involvement of social workers in leading place-based communities during this crucial moment has the potential to address long-standing issues within systems to support aging in place and healthy aging, especially with and on behalf of those most directly disadvantaged from multiple forms of injustice.

Last updated on hub: 31 August 2020

Older adults and Covid 19: social justice, disparities, and social work practice

Journal of Gerontological Social Work

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought immense challenges to almost every country as it spreads throughout their populations. Foremost among these challenges is the heightened awareness of inequalities in society and the immense toll that the virus has on the most vulnerable. Globally, older people are the most at risk of getting the virus and dying from the it. Yet, although age is a significant contributor, it is its interaction with other factors, chronic conditions, poverty, and race that makes it a strong determinant. These factors reflect disparities and systemic social injustices that interact to increase the vulnerability of older adults. This paper discusses the many roles that social work, with its focus on social change, injustice, and vulnerable groups can intervene at many levels of practice and with specific groups to alleviate these fundamental disparities.

Last updated on hub: 31 August 2020

Mutual aid during a pandemic: a group work class example

Social Work with Groups

The pandemic of 2020 had faculty pivoting quickly from face-to-face to remote teaching. Many of us had to manage this herculean task with little know-how and within a short time-frame. Best practices were unclear given the highly individualized circumstances in which students were now living. Group work within an educational framework is possible and can help students effectively manage the stresses resulting from sudden crisis situations. The key to group work as practiced by social workers is mutual aid and it was this process that emerged in an online class for undergraduate students. It was not planned yet evolved in large part due to students’ capacity for caring, empathy, and connection.

Last updated on hub: 31 August 2020