COVID-19 resources

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COVID‐19 and care homes in England: What happened and why?

Social Policy and Administration

In the context of very high mortality and infection rates, this article examines the policy response to COVID‐19 in care homes for older people in the UK, with particular focus on England in the first 10 weeks of the pandemic. The timing and content of the policy response as well as different possible explanations for what happened are considered. Undertaking a forensic analysis of policy in regard to the overall plan, monitoring and protection as well as funding and resources, the first part lays bare the slow, late and inadequate response to the risk and reality of COVID‐19 in care homes as against that in the National Health Service (NHS). A two‐pronged, multidimensional explanation is offered: structural, sectoral specificities; political and socio‐cultural factors. Amongst the relevant structural factors are the institutionalised separation from the health system, the complex system of provision and policy for adult social care, widespread market dependence. There is also the fact that logistical difficulties were exacerbated by years of austerity and resource cutting and a weak regulatory tradition of the care home sector. The effects of a series of political and cultural factors are also highlighted. As well as little mobilisation of the sector and low public commitment to and knowledge of social care, there is a pattern of Conservative government trying to divest the state of responsibilities in social care. This would support an interpretation in terms of policy avoidance as well as a possible political calculation by government that its policies towards the care sector and care homes would be less important and politically damaging than those for the NHS.

Last updated on hub: 31 August 2020

A mindfulness mobile app for traumatized COVID-19 healthcare workers and recovered patients: a response to “the use of digital applications and COVID-19”

Community Mental Health Journal

A response to Alexopoulos et al. (2020) regarding their recommendation to repurpose the previously developed, refined, and tested mindfulness- and acceptance-based mobile app intervention for military veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. The author welcomes the opportunity to expand the target population of our mobile app intervention to include to COVID-19 healthcare providers and patients who recovered from the disease.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

The use of digital applications and COVID-19

Community Mental Health Journal

Mobile health apps are becoming increasingly popular amongst users who are turning to digital platforms to aid their mental wellbeing. As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare staff as well as recovering patients may suffer from PTSD. We have therefore suggested to Reyes et al. (“Promoting Resilience Among College Student Veterans Through an Acceptance-and-Commitment-Therapy App: An Intervention Refinement Study”, 2020) the importance of repurposing their app to help these users to improve their emotional resilience and subsequently their ability to cope with the trauma of their experience. We have also discussed the most pertinent barriers to mobile health app uptake including data privacy concerns and the role of stigma.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

Domestic violence and abuse, coronavirus, and the media narrative

Journal of Gender-Based Violence

Following lockdowns in countries around the world, reports emerged of a ‘surge’ or ‘spikes’ in the number of domestic violence and abuse cases. It is critical to contextualise this: more men are not starting to be abusive or violent; rather, the patterns of abuse are becoming more frequent. Spiking and surging make us think in terms of more one-off incidents but it is more likely that the pattern of abuse that is already there is increasing in terms of frequency and type because both parties remain together at all times. Amid such a crisis, it is imperative that we continue to see the dynamics of domestic violence and abuse as both a pattern of abusive behaviours and a product of gendered social and cultural norms, rather than a reaction to a specific factor or event, such as COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

Guidance for supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged learners

Welsh Government

This guidance provides specific advice for supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged learners returning to school setting in Wales. A wide definition of vulnerable and disadvantaged learners has been adopted, including learners who are in one or more of the following groups: learners with special educational needs (SEN); learners from minority ethnic groups who have English or Welsh as an additional language (EAL/WAL); care-experienced children, including looked after children; learners educated other than at school (EOTAS); children of refugees and asylum seekers; Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children; learners eligible for free school meals (eFSM); young carers; and children at risk of harm, abuse or neglect. The guidance covers: the legislative background; preparing an approach from September 2020; and preparing for a further lockdown or blended learning approach.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

The experience of care home staff during Covid-19: a survey report by the QNI's International Community Nursing Observatory

The Queen's Nursing Institute

Findings of a survey a survey to understand more about the impact of Covid-19 on the care home nurse workforce within the UK. The survey was distributed online via the QNI Care Home Nurse Network (n~400 members), ranging from staff delivering care directly to residents, to leaders overseeing several homes. There was a total of 163 responses to the survey, equating to a response rate of 41%. The analysis shows that for the majority of respondents working through the pandemic resulted in very negative experiences such as not being valued, poor terms and conditions of employment, feeling unsupported/blamed for deaths, colleagues in other areas refusing help, feeling pressured to take residents from hospitals with unknown Covid-19 status and lack of clear guidance. 66% of respondents reported always having appropriate PPE and 75% reported that their employer had provided all their PPE. During March and April 2020, 21% reported receiving residents from the hospital sector who had tested positive for Covid-19 in hospital and 43% reported receiving residents from the hospital with an unknown Covid-19 status. Being able to access other services was an issue for some respondents. A significant proportion of respondents reported it was somewhat difficult or very difficult to access hospital care, GP services, District Nursing services, end of life medication/services. 56% of respondents felt worse or much worse in terms of their physical and mental wellbeing, while 36% reported no change. Only 62 respondents stated that they could take time off with full pay, while some felt pressure not to take time off at all.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

COVID-19 and the female health and care workforce: survey of health and care staff for the Health and Care Women Leaders Network, August 2020

NHS Confederation

This report sets out the findings of a survey to understand the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on women working across health and care services. A total of 1,308 women responded to the survey. While the overwhelming majority of respondents to the survey were white, there were some key differences in the findings in relation to participants from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds. The survey found that most respondents – almost three-quarters – had reported that their job had a greater negative impact than usual on their emotional wellbeing as a result of the pandemic, and more than half had suffered a negative impact on their physical health. Staff from BME backgrounds also reported feeling traumatised by the disproportionate impact of the virus, compounded by concerns over risk assessments not being performed in a timely manner, if at all. In addition, the analysis shows that PPE availability and training have been broadly adequate, but could be stronger; managerial support has been strong, but some issues emerge over sharing concerns; struggles with work-life balance since lockdown started; some respondents had safety concerns when working from home. The report also draws out some of the positive experiences, such as opportunities for learning and the strength of support many have received from their managers. Recommendations to improve the working conditions for women in health and care services are included.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

Overview of adult social care guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Department of Health and Social Care

Brings together information for adult social care providers on COVID-19 guidance and support. The resource covers help with infection prevention and control; what to do when you suspect an outbreak; reporting an outbreak; caring for patients discharged from hospital or another social care facility; visits to care homes and other care settings; information for providers of care in supported living and domiciliary settings; how to get social care workers and people in care homes tested; managing care workers during COVID-19; securing PPE and related supplies; help for holders of direct payments, commissioners and care providers; information for social care providers on mental health and wellbeing and financial support; Capacity Tracker and guidance on using it; information for unpaid carers; easements of the Care Act; COVID-19 ethical framework for adult social care; caring for people who are protected by safeguards under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, including the deprivation of liberty safeguards; steps to take following a coronavirus-related death of a person who worked in adult social care. [First published 25 August 2020; Last updated 1 April 2021]

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

How has Covid-19 and associated lockdown measures affected loneliness in the UK?

What Works Centre for Wellbeing

This briefing highlights findings from the Covid Social Study, a research project run by University College London, exploring the effects of the virus and social distancing measures on adults in the UK during the outbreak of COVID-19. Data collected by the study from over 70,000 people has shown how loneliness has been affected between March and July 2020. It provides insights into how many people have been lonely during this uncertain time and what the risk factors are that policy makers and practitioners should recognise in their efforts to alleviate loneliness. The initial analysis of the data shows that people who felt most lonely prior to pandemic now have even higher levels of loneliness. This increase began as physical distancing and lockdown measures were introduced in the UK, in March 2020. Adults most at risk of being lonely, and increasingly so over this period, have one or more of the following characteristics: they are young, living alone, on low incomes, out of work and, or with a mental health condition. The impact on wellbeing from people at risk of loneliness is likely to be compounded by other economic and social impacts experienced by the same people, such as those experiencing job losses and health anxieties.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

Covid-19 and the nation’s mental health: forecasting needs and risks in the UK: July 2020

Centre for Mental Health

This briefing draws on international evidence to provide an assessment of the economic impacts of Covid-19 and their implications for public mental health. It also reviews evidence relating to the criminal justice system and to young adults and the potential longer-term psychological impacts of rising youth unemployment. Research has identified specific groups of people facing higher risks to their mental health at this time, including the families of people treated in intensive care, people with existing mental or physical health conditions, and pregnant women. There is also evidence that people with existing mental health difficulties have been experiencing a worsening of their mental health during the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic on children and young people’s mental health is greater in areas and communities hardest hit by the virus and by lockdowns. Children from low income families, from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and young carers are all more likely to experience poor mental health as a result of the pandemic. Children’s mental health has been affected by disruptions to their education, compounded by reduced access to support for their mental health. The paper makes a number of recommendations for action to protect the nation’s mental health, including: targeting mental health resources where they are most needed; proactively protecting the mental health of children and young people; facilitating a psychologically informed return to school; providing additional mental health support for groups facing further risks; improving safety in the criminal justice system; and supporting young people seeking employment.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

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