COVID-19 resources

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Pandemic policy making: the health and wellbeing effects of the cessation of volunteering on older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

Purpose: This policy-orientated commentary aims to provide a perspective on the effects of policy changes designed to reduce the risk of infection as a result of COVID-19. The example of the abrupt cessation of volunteering activities is used to consider the policy and practice implications that need to be acknowledged in new public service research to deal with the on-going implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and for future preparedness. Design/methodology/approach: The paper will provide a critical challenge to English pandemic health policy making, in particular, the national instruction “to stop non-essential contact with others” without a strategy on how to remedy the serious side effects of this instruction, in particular on older adults. Findings: The abrupt cessation of volunteering activities of and for older people because of the COVID-19 pandemic is highly likely to have negative health and wellbeing effects on older adults with long-term and far-reaching policy implications. Originality/value: The paper combines existing knowledge volunteering of and for older adults with early pandemic practice evidence to situate an emerging health and wellbeing crisis for older adults. It emphasises the importance of immediate further detailed research to provide evidence for policy and practice following the lifting of COVID-19 related restrictions and in preparation for future crises.

Last updated on hub: 29 December 2020

Pandemic pressures: how equalities organisations responded to the Covid-19 crisis

Ambition for Ageing

This briefing summarises the learning from research that looked at how equalities organisations supporting marginalised older people managed during the Covid-19 crisis. Equalities organisations found adapting services quickly during Covid-19 more or less challenging depending on their size, the needs of their communities, and their ability to make changes – they found it easier or more difficult to switch to digital and online services depending on their IT systems and staff skills; older people found it difficult to learn new skills in a pandemic and most preferred phone support, but this needs more staff and time; equalities organisations worked hard to meet high levels of mental health support needs, which increased during the pandemic, but there were gaps in funding and linking people to the right kinds of support. Equalities organisations found partnership working helpful where they already had strong relationships, but they felt statutory organisations did not consult with them early enough. Key recommendations for commissioners and funders include: recognise and utilise the expertise of equalities organisations to mitigate against increasing inequalities in a crisis; build and support the resilience of equalities organisations to respond in a crisis; learn from the experiences of equalities organisations during this pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 17 May 2021

Pandemic pressures: how Greater Manchester equalities organisations have responded to the needs of older people during the Covid-19 crisis

Ambition for Ageing

Summarises research into how Greater Manchester equalities organisations have responded to the needs of older people during the Covid-19 crisis. Older people in the communities that many equalities organisations represent, including those that experience racial inequality, disability and LGBT people, are more at risk either to the virus itself or to the effects of pandemic control measures than the general older population. Equalities organisations stepped up and put a huge amount of effort in responding to the crisis and adapting services for older people in their communities. Because of the nature of the pandemic, and the ongoing uncertainty, this has taken its toll on organisations and staff, with a result that some, especially smaller, organisations are now struggling or in danger of becoming overwhelmed. Equalities organisations have a further triple burden over and above many other community organisations because in many cases the needs of the communities they represent have been poorly considered in planning. This triple burden involves filling gaps to meet unmet specific needs of marginalised communities; working with, or lobbying, public sector providers to amend or add to pandemic response services that have been already established; and “horizon scanning” to try to pre-empt potential future problems. Taking the learning from this research, the report identifies a number of recommendations for service commissioners, funders and contractors which can be viewed under three main headings: recognise and utilise the expertise of equalities organisations to mitigate against increasing inequalities in a crisis; build and support the resilience of equalities organisations to respond in a crisis; learn from the experiences of equalities organisations during this pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 17 May 2021

Pandemic pressures: how to improve crisis response using equalities organisations’ expertise

Ambition for Ageing

This briefing summarises the key findings from research, which highlights how the experiences of equalities organisations during the Covid-19 crisis can be used by service commissioners, funders and contractors to contribute to future emergency planning and responses. Equalities organisations that work within and for particular communities of identity which experience marginalisation were on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic. They filled gaps to meet unmet specific needs of marginalised communities; worked with and lobbied public sector providers to amend or add to established pandemic response services and they held the expertise to pre-empt and plan for potential future problems. Key recommendations for commissioners and funders include: recognise and utilise the expertise of equalities organisations to mitigate against increasing inequalities in a crisis; build and support the resilience of equalities organisations to respond in a crisis; learn from the experiences of equalities organisations during this pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 17 May 2021

Pandemic pressures: why families on a low income are spending more during Covid-19

Resolution Foundation

This note explores why low-income families report spending more, not less, during the pandemic. It brings together the findings from two online surveys of a representative sample of working-age adults in the UK and a number of vivid accounts from parents and carers themselves, drawn from the ongoing ‘Covid Realities’ participatory research programme. The evidence presented in this note shines a light on the absence of targeted, adequate support for families on a low income, who today face the combined insecurity of Covid-19 and increased financial pressure. Moreover, it underlines the importance of understanding the differential experiences of the pandemic. Key findings include: during the summer and autumn 2020, families with children estimated to be in the lowest pre-pandemic income quintile were twice as likely to report an increase in spending (36 per cent) than a decrease (18 per cent); having children at home more has meant higher spending on food, energy and ways to entertain or distract children when so many outdoor leisure activities have been curtailed; remote schooling has proven very expensive, especially for those families that have had to buy a laptop or arrange for broadband access, for example; the cost of feeding a family on a low income has risen during the pandemic; in September 2020, half of adults with less than £1,000 in savings report drawing down on them since February, and over half of adults in the lowest-income quintile using borrowing to a greater extent than they did pre-pandemic to cover everyday living costs. With tough new restrictions now in place to contain the spread of the more transmissible Covid-19 variant, parents on a low income face another difficult period without school or childcare, when costs once again look set to increase.

Last updated on hub: 18 January 2021

Pandemic sex workers’ resilience: COVID-19 crisis met with rapid responses by sex worker communities

International Social Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the inequality of social support systems worldwide, revealing the gaps that further marginalize vulnerable people. Despite the fact that sex workers are adversely affected by the pandemic, they are excluded from government relief and protection programmes as well as health services. Sex worker communities have developed rapid response strategies to support their peers in overcoming these challenges. Sex worker organizations all over the world have been working alongside other groups and communities to advocate for income and health support for all, and an end to repressive policing and state-sanctioned violence.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

Pandemics and violence against women and children

Center for Global Development

Times of economic uncertainty, civil unrest, and disaster are linked to a myriad of risk factors for increased violence against women and children (VAW/C). Pandemics are no exception. In fact, the regional or global nature and associated fear and uncertainty associated with pandemics provide an enabling environment that may exacerbate or spark diverse forms of violence. Understanding mechanisms underlying these dynamics are important for crafting policy and program responses to mitigate adverse effects. Based on existing published and grey literature, we document nine main (direct and indirect) pathways linking pandemics and VAW/C, through effects of (on): (1) economic insecurity and poverty-related stress, (2) quarantines and social isolation, (3) disaster and conflict-related unrest and instability, (4) exposure to exploitative relationships due to changing demographics, (5) reduced health service availability and access to first responders, (6) inability of women to temporarily escape abusive partners, (7) virus-specific sources of violence, (8) exposure to violence and coercion in response efforts, and (9) violence perpetrated against health care workers. We also suggest additional pathways with limited or anecdotal evidence likely to effect smaller subgroups. Based on these mechanisms, we suggest eight policy and program responses for action by governments, civil society, international and community-based organizations. Finally, as research linking pandemics directly to diverse forms of VAW/C is scarce, we lay out a research agenda comprising three main streams, to better (1) understand the magnitude of the problem, (2) elucidate mechanisms and linkages with other social and economic factors and (3) inform intervention and response options. We hope this paper can be used by researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to help inform further evidence generation and policy action while situating VAW/C within the broader need for intersectional gender- and feminist-informed pandemic response.

Last updated on hub: 25 June 2020

Paradoxes of pandemic

Professional Social Work

This perspective suggests that while the COVID-19 crisis will have a huge impact on social issues like homelessnesss and child neglect, it may not be necessarily in ways we might predict. At the time this article was published more than 36,000 people across the UK had died from coronavirus and over 4,000 people who sleep rough had been placed in temporary accommodation. While there are legitimate fears lockdown and pandemic measures generally may have led to more child abuse and neglect, paradoxically, some children are also protected by the lockdown. With more people within a child's home, there are more individuals and more opportunities to supervise children and this may deter abuse by other people. The article also considers the 'social work' paradox, i.e. the key agency in child protection - social work - has received far less recognition during the pandemic. The article also discusses the 'government paradox' or the government's newfound concern over child protection and other social issues. The article concludes with the the suggestion that after the pandemic the government should seek to retain some gains, and in particular continue to treat child abuse and neglect, domestic abuse and rough sleeping, and other acute social issues, as the emergencies they are.

Last updated on hub: 15 October 2020

Participants at adult day services centers and their caregivers

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Adult Day Services Centers (ADSCs), also known as adult day services or adult day care, provide social or health services to adults 65 and older living in communities and to adults of any age living with disability. Participants (adults who attend ADSCs) and their caregivers can also take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones by helping reduce the spread of COVID-19 at ADSC facilities and at home.

Last updated on hub: 19 April 2021

Partners in care: resources to support meaningful visits

National Care Forum

This set of resources is designed to provide practical support to care homes and their relatives and loved ones to adopt the default position that care homes are open for visiting. Care homes must be supported to enable and welcome visits by families and friends, now and in the future. It is clear that we must find a way to resolve the challenge of visiting in care homes for the longer term; we are facing a world where we will have to live with COVID-19 for the foreseeable months and indeed years. This means reaching an agreed partnership position, with practical measures, rights and responsibilities that enables visiting long term rather than the current cycle of crisis short term approaches. The National Care Forum has worked with care providers and residents and relatives organisations to develop these Partners in Care resources to support meaningful visits. It includes: a Visiting Charter – sets out a shared set of rights and responsibilities; a Visiting Pledge – covers key commitments that all parties can sign up to; and useful practical resources to support the charter and the pledge.

Last updated on hub: 22 March 2021

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