COVID-19 resources

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Iriss on… social isolation and technology

The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services

A brief overview of social isolation, the implications of the COVID-19 crisis, and how technology can support social connectedness, through access to social networks, health and care resources, entertainment or educational content. The document gives a definition of social isolation and explains who is at risk, the causes and consequences of isolation, and the role digital technology. It also highlights and signposts to relevant evidence and literature.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Is there a link between nursing home reported quality and COVID-19 cases? Evidence from California skilled nursing facilities

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

Objectives: During the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States, nursing homes became the hotbed for the spread of COVID-19. States developed different policies to mitigate the COVID-19 risks at nursing homes, including limiting nursing home visitation and mandating staff screening. The purpose of this study is to examine whether COVID-19 cases and deaths are related to the nursing home reported quality. Design: This study combined the COVID-19 data reported by the California Department of Public Health, quality ratings provided by Nursing Home Compare, and patient racial information from Long-Term Care Focus to examine the association between nursing home reported quality and COVID-19 cases and deaths. Settings and Participants: Cross-sectional data from 1223 California skilled nursing facilities with reported quality and longitudinal data of COVID-19 cases were used. Methods: The dependent variable is COVID-19 residents’ cases and deaths. The main independent variable is nursing home reported quality. Nursing home ownership, size, years of operation, and patient race composition are also included. Results: Nursing home star ratings and greater percentage of residents from different racial and ethnicity groups were significantly (P < .01) related to increased probability of having a COVID-19 residents’ case or death. Conclusions and Implications: Nursing homes with 5-star ratings were less likely to have COVID-19 cases and deaths after adjusting for nursing home size and patient race proportion.

Last updated on hub: 21 August 2020

Is visiting [in the social context] associated with increased incidence of COVID-19 in long-term residential care facilities?

HSE Library

This summary of evidence contains a comprehensive representation of available research evidence, key reference sources and collated information on the impact of visitors on the incidence of COVID-19 in long-term residential care facilities.

Last updated on hub: 26 October 2020

Isolated and struggling: social isolation and the risk of child maltreatment, in lockdown and beyond

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

This briefing pulls together research evidence to explore whether the conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic heighten the risk of child maltreatment in the UK. From the analysis of a range of different risks and issues three main areas of risk were identified: 1. Increase in stressors to parents and caregivers – the evidence confirms that the risk of child abuse is higher when caregivers become overloaded by the stressors in their lives and there are indications that the coronavirus pandemic has increased stressors on caregivers; 2. Increase in children and young people's vulnerability – there are indications that the conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic have heightened the vulnerability of children and young people to certain types of abuse, for example online abuse, abuse within the home, criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation; 3. Reduction in normal protective services – there is evidence that the ‘normal’ safeguards have been reduced during the pandemic but social connections and social support can provide a protective effect for children’s safety and wellbeing. The report recommends a national and local response from governments and statutory agencies which includes practical steps such as: providing practical support to parents around income maximisation to reduce stresses caused by financial insecurity; addressing digital exclusion, ensuring all children have access to the technology they need to access school, therapeutic support and other services; comprehensive and long-term funding for children’s services, with at least £2 billion a year invested in early intervention and therapeutic services.

Last updated on hub: 02 July 2020

Isolation in the midst of a pandemic: social work students rapidly respond to community and field work needs

Social Work Education (The International Journal)

In the midst of a pandemic, many social work students are currently displaced from their field education, while the needs of their communities are exacerbated. Due to stay-at-home orders, the risk of experiencing social isolation and loneliness, already a major social problem prior to the crisis, has increased, especially for older adults. Seeking to step up in the context of a public emergency, graduate social work students in the United States created a project called GiftsofGab.org, which is a volunteer call-based companion coordination project that connects social work students with those in need of social interaction. This paper provides a case study of this project and argue that this kind of student-initiated action learning project can provide a workable alternative field placement model in times of crisis and is consistent with the community practice mission of social work.

Last updated on hub: 12 November 2020

Joining the dots? Tackling child exploitation during Covid-19

Journal of Children's Services

Purpose: This paper aims to report on findings from action research undertaken in response to the Covid-19 pandemic by the Tackling Child Exploitation Support Programme (TCESP), a Department for Education funded programme that provides support to local areas in improving their strategic approach to child exploitation and extra-familial harm. Design/methodology/approach: The research included a scoping review of the literature, and focus groups with programme staff, strategic leaders and professionals from different services across England. To provide a strategic lens, findings were then considered in relation to TCE’s “Joining the dots” framework, which encourages examination of the relationships between different forms of child exploitation. Findings: The action research highlighted the emerging and tentative nature of the knowledge base relating to child exploitation and extra-familial harm in the context of Covid-19. Findings revealed that there had been innovation in the use of digital methods and direct working, integration of practical support with other forms of service delivery and in partnership working, and also considerable variation in approach across different local areas. Practical implications: Strategic leaders need to use the evidence emerging from lockdown as a basis for further interrogation of emerging data alongside the views of young people, families and communities and their wider workforce. This includes new information about changing patterns of exploitation. Digital delivery and innovation need to be supported by clear strategic guidance, based on review of the evidence regarding increased digital communication and its impact. New partnerships developed between services, data sharing and innovative ways of working that have taken place during lockdown need to be monitored and evaluated for quality and impact. Originality/value: The action research findings offer a snapshot of practice regarding child exploitation and extra-familial harm at a mid-point in the Covid-19 lockdown in England and Wales.

Last updated on hub: 30 December 2020

Keeping children and young people safe during a pandemic: testing the robustness of multi-agency child protection and safeguarding arrangements for schools

National Institute for Health Research

This study explored whether the multi-agency arrangements, of which schools are a part, have been sufficiently robust not to place children at increased risk during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK. The study provided the opportunity to explore the role of the school in multi-agency work during this time, not only from the perspective of schools and children's social care, but from that of other agencies including child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), school nurses and the police. Five local authorities took part in the research; in addition to strategic and operational leads for education and children’s social care, interviews were conducted with representatives of the police, strategic managers in health services, schools and colleges, virtual school heads, the school nursing service and child and adult mental health services; and a survey was also undertaken to gain schools’ views on how, if at all, multi-agency working had changed under COVID-19 restrictions. The study identified initiatives which had been introduced before COVID-19 but were accelerated by the prevailing conditions, as well as those that were developed because of these conditions. There were numerous references both to how quickly agencies’ ways of working had adapted and how a reactive response had been followed by a more proactive approach. This had been possible because of conversations that led to improved processes as well as systems that had been rapidly introduced. The report argues that it is now critical to consider how agencies will build on the strengths that have emerged, not least how professionals increase their availability and accessibility to others, and to reflect on those aspects of multi-agency work that did not get done or were carried out less thoroughly than they would have been before the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

Keeping your team motivated

Skills for Care

Staff resilience and motivation are vital as employers try to meet the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. This webinar highlights the leadership behaviours which staff find most satisfying and motivating in normal times, but especially so in times of crisis.

Last updated on hub: 29 June 2020

Key issues for agencies in developing best practice for adoption and fostering panel virtual meetings during the coronavirus pandemic

CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy

The Government's Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 came into effect from 24 April. This guidance document sets out the relevant sections of the amended regulations and guidance for adoption and fostering panels. It also identifies learning from agencies as they are planning and holding adoption and fostering panels during the COVID-19 crisis. The guidance looks at the implications for adoption and fostering, highlights the importance of panels in the decision-making process, identifies factors to consider when setting up a virtual panel, and provides information on managing the panel process.

Last updated on hub: 14 May 2020

Key measures for infection prevention and control: a guide for social care workers providing care in an individual’s home

Scottish Social Services Council

This guide highlights essential practical actions to support good infection control practice during COVID-19, particularly hand and cough hygiene and personal protective equipment (PPE). It signposts some of the key measures care workers will need to protect themselves and others when providing care and support for people, including those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The guide is for social care workers providing support and care to people living in their own homes; particularly care at home and housing support workers, referred to as ‘domiciliary care’ in the national guidance. It acknowledges that many of the people they support may be in the shielding category.

Last updated on hub: 18 September 2020