COVID-19 resources

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Reaching up, down, in, and around: couple and family coping during the corona virus pandemic

Family Process

The worldwide corona virus (COVID‐19) has had profound effects on all aspects of life: physical health, the ability to travel locally or to more distant destinations, material and financial resources, and psychosocial wellbeing. Couples, families, and communities and individual persons in those relationships have struggled to cope with emerging depression, anxiety, and trauma, and the rise of relational conflict. This article, suggests that the existential nature of the pandemic’s challenges require more than just the usual psychosocial interventions. This paper proposes a taxonomy of responses to foster coping and resilience – “Reaching Up, Down, In, and Around”. “Reaching Up” includes accessing spiritual, religious, and ethical values. “Reaching Down” includes ideas and practices that foster a revised relationship with the Earth and its resources, and that engage families to participate in activities that aid the Earth’s recovery from decades of human‐caused damage. “Reaching In” represents a turn towards experiences available in the mind and in shared minds in relationships that provide pleasure, excitement, joy, and peace, given that external sources of these emotions are of limited availability due to quarantine. “Reaching Around” involves reframing the mandate for “social distancing” as fostering social connection and support while maintaining physical distancing. The challenges for family therapists, whose practices are confined largely to online therapy, and who are struggling with the same fears and constraints as those persons they are attempting to help, are also discussed.

Last updated on hub: 17 September 2020

React, respond, renew: responding to the workforce challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and looking to the future

Local Government Association

This paper provides a summary of how COVID-19 initially affected local government from a workforce perspective, including the social care sector. It argues that there is a critical need to ensure a meaningful ’parity of esteem’ between the 1.5 million social care workforce and their counterparts in the NHS. The report sets the scene for the workforce having to respond, within an extremely short timescale, to a completely new way of working. It provides a narrative to the shared experience of working through the pandemic in 2020. The report flags the challenges and considerations for returning to a physical workplace; outlines the psychological impact of COVID-19; captures the issues councils might want to explore in considering renewal and provide links for various tips and guides; touches on recruitment and retention challenges, how COVID-19 might change what we mean by 'leadership', and sets out how equality, diversity and inclusion will run throughout these issues; and captures the issues and questions that councils might be asking themselves or might want to ask themselves, following this challenging period of time.

Last updated on hub: 24 September 2020

Readying the NHS and adult social care in England for COVID-19

National Audit Office

This report sets out the evidence around government’s progress in preparing the NHS and social care for the COVID-19 outbreak. The report examines the facts relating to the coordination of the NHS and social care response; the change in demand for hospital care and the impact of increased bed and respiratory support capacity; the provision of adult social care and shielding for the most vulnerable; and expanding, equipping and supporting the health and adult social care workforces. Key findings include: there is concerns in parts of the social care sector that local authorities have not increased fee rates paid to care providers; while reported outbreaks of COVID-19 in care homes peaked at the start of April, it is not known how many residents have had COVID-19 or how many of those discharged from hospitals into care homes had COVID-19 at the time of discharge; about half of the 2.2 million people classed as clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 have registered for support; on average, reported staff absence rates in care homes were around 10 per cent between mid-April and mid-May; from 28 April, all social care workers were eligible for tests, but the Department capped the daily amount of care home tests at 30,000; the central stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was designed for a flu pandemic and a range of bodies across health and social care have expressed concern about PPE supply; the supply of PPE from central sources up to mid-May only met some of the modelled requirement from health and social care providers.

Last updated on hub: 15 June 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

Real time evaluation of Leeds Neighbourhood Networks: response to the COVID 19 pandemic

Centre for Ageing Better

This snapshot report evaluates the Leeds Neighbourhood Networks (LNNs) and how they responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. The networks support older people to remain living independently and to participate in their communities through a range of activities and services that are provided at a neighbourhood level. The report shows that following the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic in March 2020 the LNNs adapted their service offer rapidly to meet the needs of people living in their communities, focusing on the provision of food, medicine and other essential items, and ensuring people had access to social and emotional support. Some LNNs have taken on a ‘community hub’ role which has involved offering support to a broader section of the community, such as younger households and people experiencing financial hardship. Challenges and opportunities facing the LNNs during this period include: the intensification of their work; the tension between addressing needs of the whole community and the older people; an increase in the reach and visibility of the LNNs; there are some concerns about longer-term sustainability as the pandemic continues. The paper concludes by recommending the development of a clear vision about the role of the LNN in the citywide COVID 19 recovery process and understanding how LNNs can be supported to play a full and active role in the recovery process, including what resources and support may be needed.

Last updated on hub: 22 July 2020

Realising the true value of integrated care: beyond COVID-19

International Foundation for Integrated Care

Drawing on the learning from the COVID-19 pandemic, this think piece makes the case for accelerating health and care integration to realise its true value and full potential. It argues that the speed and scale of the response required by the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how the fragmentation in current health and care systems significantly impairs the services' ability to respond effectively. Redesigning the system around integration requires collective action in a number of areas, which need to be strengthened and consolidated. These include: developing shared values and vision; focusing on population health and local context; working with people as partners in care; developing resilient communities and new alliances; increasing workforce capacity and capability; supporting system wide governance and leadership; investing on digital solutions; aligning payment systems; and pursuing transparency of progress, results and impact.

Last updated on hub: 16 June 2020

Real-time digital contact tracing: development of a system to control COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes and long-term care facilities

Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can spread rapidly in nursing homes and long-term care (LTC) facilities. Symptoms-based screening and manual contact tracing have limitations that render them ineffective for containing the viral spread in LTC facilities. Symptoms-based screening alone cannot identify asymptomatic people who are infected, and the viral spread is too fast in confined living quarters to be contained by slow manual contact tracing processes. Objective: We describe the development of a digital contact tracing system that LTC facilities can use to rapidly identify and contain asymptomatic and symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infected contacts. A compartmental model was also developed to simulate disease transmission dynamics and to assess system performance versus conventional methods. Methods: We developed a compartmental model parameterized specifically to assess the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission in LTC facilities. The model was used to quantify the impact of asymptomatic transmission and to assess the performance of several intervention groups to control outbreaks: no intervention, symptom mapping, polymerase chain reaction testing, and manual and digital contact tracing. Results: Our digital contact tracing system allows users to rapidly identify and then isolate close contacts, store and track infection data in a respiratory line listing tool, and identify contaminated rooms. Our simulation results indicate that the speed and efficiency of digital contact tracing contributed to superior control performance, yielding up to 52% fewer cases than conventional methods. Conclusions: Digital contact tracing systems show promise as an effective tool to control COVID-19 outbreaks in LTC facilities. As facilities prepare to relax restrictions and reopen to outside visitors, such tools will allow them to do so in a surgical, cost-effective manner that controls outbreaks while safely giving residents back the life they once had before this pandemic hit. Citation: Wilmink G et al. (2020) Real-Time Digital Contact Tracing: Development of a System to Control COVID-19 Outbreaks in Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities. JMIR Public Health Surveill 2020;6(3):e20828

Last updated on hub: 13 November 2020

Rebuilding the NHS: resetting outpatient services for the 21st century in the context of COVID-19

Royal College of Physicians

In this document, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) set out principles and recommendations for resetting outpatient services in the context of the ongoing pandemic. The paper recommends that services should make sure that all relevant organisations, patients and carers are involved in the coproduction and implementation of reset plans; further the integration of primary, secondary, social and community care; systematically consider the impact of their reset plans on inequality; work towards a system in which patient records are available to everyone involved in decision making and provision of care; design new clinical processes to maximise the benefit of new technology to patients, carers and clinicians; and make sure that everyone involved has access to the education, training and support they need to adapt to and use new systems. The paper argues that payment must incentivise the reduction of inequality, greater integration and the increased use of technology and calls for the introduction of a blended payment model for the outpatient system, combining a fixed payment based on the likely needs of the population with a payment based on outcomes, including patient-reported quality of communication and experience.

Last updated on hub: 16 July 2020

Recasting social workers as frontline in a socially accountable COVID-19 response

International Social Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the engagement of a wide range of professionals in responding to clinical, social and economic issues. While the clinical expression of the pandemic has generated strong media portrayal of physicians and nurses as frontline workers, social workers – who play a key role in helping individuals and families in crisis – have not been similarly highlighted. The pandemic within a social accountability framework highlights important roles of both public officials and civic society in containment efforts. This article recognizes social workers as important actors in their representative and supportive role for civil society during COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

Recommendations for safe visiting in care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic

Dementia UK

This flowchart describes the steps residential care providers need to take to ensure safe visiting during the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 08 October 2020