COVID-19 resources for managers and leaders

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Managing through COVID-19: the experiences of children’s social care in 15 English local authorities

King's College London

This study examines the arrangements put in place in children’s social care services during the period of the COVID-19 lockdown and considers what their impact and legacy might be. A modified Delphi methodology was adopted, gathering expert opinion from 15 representatives of English local authorities to through a series of iterative questionnaires, with a goal of coming to a group consensus. Findings cover a whole range of issues, including home and office working; referrals; working with families in a pandemic; foster care; care leavers and unaccompanied young people seeking asylum; residential homes; multi-agency working; recruitment; planning for the end of lockdown; and lessons for the future. The study found that the local authorities have responded to three interrelated imperatives: to keep social workers safe while promoting their health and wellbeing, to work with extremely vulnerable families and to use technology to undertake work with these families who may be technology poor. All authorities were conscious that soon they could be facing additional challenges as they dealt not only with the practicalities of social distancing and technology, but the increased number of referrals that they expected once other services returned to ‘more business as usual’ operations. There was concern about those families who had been exposed to the risks arising within their homes such as domestic abuse, coercive control, alcohol and substance misuse, with consequences for their mental and physical health. COVID-19 has also offered opportunities, leading children’s social care services to think afresh about how things work and speed up changes that would have taken years to introduce. Previous notions of how to conduct an assessment, engage in direct practice and offer student placements are amongst the many activities that have been tested and reshaped, at least temporarily. Similarly, virtual visits to families were reported to be effective in certain circumstances and be less intrusive for some families, although establishing face-to-face contact in the home will continue to be necessary.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Managing through COVID-19: the experiences of children’s social care in 15 English local authorities: briefing paper

King's College London

Summarises the finding of a study examining the arrangements put in place in children’s social care services in 15 local authorities during the period of the COVID-19 lockdown. Findings cover: the social work workforce; referrals to children’s social care; work with families; foster care; care leavers; unaccompanied young people seeking asylum; residential homes; multi-agency working; cross-authority work; students and placements; recruitment; support for local authorities through COVID-19; planning for the end of lockdown; and lessons for the future. Lessons include: the use of technology in contacting parents should be approached with caution, taking account of the family’s ability to access it and their confidence in working in this way, and the service’s capacity to provide support in doing so; a proportion of meetings and other interactions will continue to be conducted virtually but these should be monitored to determine what it is effective and efficient to do and in what particular circumstances; the potential of technology to improve social workers’ engagement with young people has been established, but it is important to recognise that it will not work for everyone and there will be those who do not wish to use it in some circumstances; it will be important to build on positive developments that have emerged such as those in relation to multi-agency working.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Impact of coronavirus in care homes in England: 26 May to 19 June 2020

The Office for National Statistics

Sets out the first results from the Vivaldi study, a large scale survey which looked at coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in 9,081 care homes providing care for dementia patients and the elderly in England. Across the care homes included in the study, 56% are estimated to have reported at least one confirmed case of coronavirus (staff or resident). Across these, an estimated 20% of residents and 7% of staff tested positive for COVID-19, as reported by care home managers, since the start of the pandemic. The emerging findings reveal some common factors in care homes with higher levels of infections amongst residents. These include prevalence of infection in staff, some care home practices such as more frequent use of bank or agency nurses or carers, and some regional differences (such as higher infection levels within care homes in London and the West Midlands). There is some evidence that in care homes where staff receive sick pay, there are lower levels of infection in residents. Findings also include some common factors in care homes with higher levels of infection amongst staff. These include prevalence of infection in residents (although this is weaker than the effect of staff infection on residents), some care home practices (such as more frequent use of bank or agency nurses or carers, and care homes employing staff who work across multiple sites) and some regional differences (such as higher infection levels within care homes in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber). However, regional differences may be affected by different patterns of testing in staff and residents over time.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Capturing beneficial change from the COVID-19 pandemic: response from the British Geriatrics Society

British Geriatrics Society

This report provides examples of the beneficial innovations that have been implemented across the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic. It argues that they should be consolidated and retained as health care services start to resume business as usual. Some of the innovations take place at the interface between health and social care, giving an indication of how integrated care can move forward. The examples are organised into ten themes, covering: proactive anticipatory care for older people with frailty; urgent primary care response; specialist-led assessment and treatment at home; coordinated multi-agency support for care homes; person-centred advance care planning; age-attuned acute care; safe, effective and timely transfers of care; optimising rehabilitation and recovery; virtual clinics; and digitally-enabled care. For each theme, the report provides a short description of the innovation, one or two examples of this innovation being implemented and a brief outline of the benefits to patients and staff. The document concludes with details of the key enablers that are present throughout the themes and details on how these innovations can be sustained nationally to ensure that the lessons learned in the pandemic are not lost.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

The future of care for older people: turning the lessons learned into actions

Age UK

Drawing on the lessons from the pandemic, Caroline Abrahams argues that far-reaching change to adult social care, and funding to match, cannot be put off any longer. The article explores adult social care under-funding, what good care for older people looks like, prioritising care at home, care and dementia, health and nursing support for care homes, parity for care staff with the NHS, and accountability for care and the role of ICSs.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Understanding the needs of young carers in the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic

University of East Anglia

Presents the finding of a study to gain a rapid and holistic understanding of the issues facing young carers in the COVID-19 crisis. Semi structured interviews were conducted with eight young carers, five young adult carers, three parents of young carers and four youth workers. The findings are structured around the following five themes: complexity of care; increase in caring role; external support; education; mental health and managing the stress. They suggest that no two young carers are alike, nor is the complexity of the care they provide or the context within which they provide that care. Each of the youth workers that took part in the study said that the caring responsibilities for older carers had increased exponentially during the pandemic. The restrictions in place through social distancing have further compounded an uneasy relationship with health and social care services, with poor communication and a lack of awareness of the needs of young carers. A strong desire for the routine and respite of school was prominent throughout the young carer interviews – some of the young carers were struggling to manage the requirements of home learning and felt that this was disproportionate to that of their peers who did not have caring responsibilities. In addition, the increase of pressure and stress for young carers was palpable within many of the interviews. The report sets out the implications for policy and practice, urging to continue to raise awareness of young carers and young adult carers, particularly within educational settings which can act as a sanctuary and a safeguard for them.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Exploiting isolation: offenders and victims of online child sexual abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic

European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation

This report examines activities involving the sexual abuse and exploitation of children online and related offline crimes with a particular focus on how offenders have used their time during COVID-19 confinement to increase children’s vulnerability. The findings of this report are mainly based on contributions from Member States and Europol’s partner countries and input from a number of organisations. Key findings are: there have been significant increases in activity relating to child sexual abuse and exploitation on both the surface web and dark web during the COVID-19 lockdown period; travel restrictions and other measures during the pandemic have likely prevented offenders from travelling and so have shifted their focus to the exchange of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online; an increase in the number of offenders exchanging CSAM online during lockdown may have an impact on and stimulate demand for this type of material online beyond the lockdown; increases in detection and reporting of CSAM on the surface web during lockdown indicate the level of re-victimisation of children through the distribution of images and videos depicting them; consistent levels of activity by offenders on the dark web during lockdown reflects the ongoing organised business model that has evolved and the level of threat that it poses to children; society, including law enforcement, needs to focus on the self-generation of CSAM to ensure that children are protected from this type of exposure to harm; the increased circulation of CSAM during the COVID-19 pandemic will also increase the need for law enforcement to identify the victims depicted in it; it is critical to continue to promote preventive and educational initiatives in a coordinated and structural manner across Europe.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Helping adult day centres to ‘unlock lockdown’. Part 1: planning practically for re-opening

King's College London

This document covers some of the practicalities of re-opening adult day centres as COVID-19 control measures are eased. It draws on guidance related to the pandemic, on broader guidance relating to social care, and relevant advice and action points for regulated settings (such as early years day care and care homes), some of which is also relevant to adult day centres. There is strong evidence that attending a day centre brings quality of life and so, despite risks, enabling people to have the choice of going to a day centre is something worthwhile. The document covers: infection control; communications; supporting service users, carers, staff and volunteers, and centre managers and coordinators; final things that managers and coordinators are likely to want to consider doing before re-opening; practical scenario planning tool. Part 2 of these guidance prompts reflection on what has happened during lockdown, what else centre managers and coordinators may wish to think about, the process of moving forwards and any learning that will be helpful for the future. Individual sections can be completed according to the stage you are in.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Helping adult day centres to ‘unlock lockdown’. Part 2: reflecting about what has happened, our ‘journey’ during closure and the future of our service

King's College London

This tool prompts adult day centre managers and coordinators to reflect on what has happened during COVID-19 lockdown, the process of moving forwards and any learning that will be helpful for the future. There is strong evidence that day centres are valued by the people who attend and that they improve their quality of life. They help people to stay living at home and provide family members with help in their caring role. They play an important part in preventing loneliness and social isolation. They can also be part of the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The reflective points suggested in this tool may help mangers and coordinators think about the reasons for making this effort to restarting the recovery journey. Part 1 of this guidance covers some of the practicalities of re-opening, focusing on infection control, communications, supporting service users, carers, staff and volunteers, and planning.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Severe mental illness and Covid-19: service support and digital solutions

Rethink Mental Illness

This briefing shares insights on service support for people with mental illness and digital solutions during the pandemic, drawing on online research with service users, as well as information from services. The paper sets out some of the challenges people severely affected by mental illness have faced during the pandemic and poses questions and suggestions on how they could be addressed, and how services can adapt to this new environment. It shows that service users are struggling with the delivery of remote services, or have seen a drop off in the level of support they have received. A concerning number have received no support at all. The briefing makes a series of recommendations on change to delivery of services and digital solutions: policy solutions for digitally excluded people are urgently required and should be a priority for NHS England and the government; as lockdown restrictions are lifted, digital and telephone consultations should continue to be provided, but only as an enhancement of options for service users who prefer this method; service users must be involved in designing and delivering mental health services during and post-pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020