COVID-19 resources

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Second quarterly report on progress to address COVID-19 health inequalities

Her Majesty's Government

This is the second quarterly report on progress to address the findings of Public Health England’s (PHE) review into disparities in the risks and outcomes of COVID-19. The report sets out our increased understanding of the drivers of these disparities. In particular, the impact of COVID-19 on certain ethnic minority groups has changed between the first wave and the early second wave; changes within such a short time period strongly suggest that ethnic inequalities in COVID-19 outcomes are driven by risk of infection, as opposed to ethnicity itself being a risk factor for severe illness or death from COVID-19. The direct impacts of COVID-19 improved for ethnic minorities as a whole during the early second wave. For example, in the first wave, Black African people were 4.5 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than White British people but in the early part of the second wave the risk of death was the same for Black African and White British people. At the same time, however, the second wave has had a much greater impact on some South Asian groups. These findings strengthen the argument that ethnic minorities should not be considered a single group that faces similar risk factors in relation to COVID-19. Different ethnic groups have experienced different outcomes during both waves of the virus. The data also shows that deprivation continues to be a major driver of the disparities in COVID-19 infection rates for all ethnic groups and this will be a particular focus of government work in the third quarter. The report also report summarises how the vaccination programme is being prioritised and the communications campaigns undertaking by the government to encourage uptake of vaccines among ethnic minority groups.

Last updated on hub: 03 March 2021

Sector pulse check: the impact of the challenges to the social care sector in 2020

Hft

Based on 72 responses to a survey of CEOs and people in senior position across various types of care providers, this report offers an annual snapshot of the financial health of the social care sector as well as outlining the impact of some of the key challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Overwhelmingly, the sector continues to be in a precarious financial position with 56% of providers reporting they are either in deficit, with costs exceeding funding, or that their surplus has decreased slightly or significantly. For the third year running, the most commonly cited cost pressure was rising wage bills, with lack of fee income at a close second, highlighting the urgent need for commissioning rates to reflect a fair and proper wage for the workforce. Last year 52% of providers warned that cost pressures could force them to close down some parts of the organisation or hand back marginal contracts and services to their local authority. This prediction was in fact exceeded, with 62% of care providers taking this action. 47% of care provides said they are now more likely to make redundancies. 81% of organisations surveyed said that they agree or strongly agree with the statement that the people they support have felt lonely and isolated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. While almost all providers (98%) have made extra efforts to ensure those they support remain connected, digital barriers persist, with 77% citing a lack of digital skills among those they support as a large barrier and 56% citing a lack of digital skills among staff. The Covid-19 pandemic has clearly taken a toll on the workforce, with 62% of providers reporting a rise in absenteeism related to mental health conditions.

Last updated on hub: 15 March 2021

Seeing the silver lining in the cloud: resiliency demonstrated by children in residential care in India during the Covid-19 crisis

Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care

The main priority during the COVID-19 emergency for Udayan Care, an NGO based in Delhi, India, is to quickly assess the risks and take steps to mitigate them so that the children and youth in the care system, and the care leavers, already unsupported and left in the lurch, do not succumb to the harsh realities caused by the pandemic. This article describes ways in which children and staff have been adapting to the difficult circumstances they are facing.

Last updated on hub: 06 October 2020

Seeking Answers for Care Homes during the COVID-19 pandemic (COVID SEARCH)

Age and Ageing

The care and support of older people residing in long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic has created new and unanticipated uncertainties for staff. This short report presents analyses of the uncertainties of care home managers and staff expressed in a self-formed closed WhatsApp discussion group during the first stages of the pandemic in the UK. This study categorised their wide-ranging questions to understand what information would address these uncertainties and provide support. This study has been able to demonstrate that almost one-third of these uncertainties could have been tackled immediately through timely, responsive and unambiguous fact-based guidance. The other uncertainties require appraisal, synthesis and summary of existing evidence, commissioning or provision of a sector- informed research agenda for medium to long term. The questions represent wider internationally relevant care home pandemic-related uncertainties.

Last updated on hub: 13 November 2020

SEeking AnsweRs for Care Homes during the COVID-19 pandemic (COVID SEARCH)

Age and Ageing

The care and support of older people residing in long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic has created new and unanticipated uncertainties for staff. In this short report, we present our analyses of the uncertainties of care home managers and staff expressed in a self-formed closed WhatsApp™ discussion group during the first stages of the pandemic in the UK. We categorised their wide-ranging questions to understand what information would address these uncertainties and provide support. We have been able to demonstrate that almost one-third of these uncertainties could have been tackled immediately through timely, responsive and unambiguous fact-based guidance. The other uncertainties require appraisal, synthesis and summary of existing evidence, commissioning or provision of a sector- informed research agenda for medium to long term. The questions represent wider internationally relevant care home pandemic-related uncertainties.

Last updated on hub: 17 March 2021

Self care techniques: episode 2

My Home Life England

'Conversations with Care Homes' is a series by My Home Life England (MHLE). This episode focuses on what self-care techniques help care home managers to replenish their energy levels. Video posted 17 April, 2020.

Last updated on hub: 09 June 2020

Self-care among healthcare social workers: the impact of COVID-19

Social Work in Health Care

For social work practitioners in healthcare settings, self-care can be an integral tool to assuaging stressors associated with COVID-19. However, research that examines the impact of public health crises, such as COVID-19, is nominal, at best. This exploratory study investigated the impact of COVID-19 on the self-care practices of self-identified healthcare social workers (N = 2,460) in one southeastern state. Primary data were collected via an electronic survey and assessed via a retrospective pre/post design. Analyses compared practices before and after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Overall, data suggest that participants experienced significant pre/post decreases in self-care practices across multiple domains. As well, findings indicate that participants who identified as married, financially stable, and working non-remotely, and in good physical/mental health engaged in significantly more self-care practices than other participants, at post. This study underscores the need to foster supportive professional cultures that include developing self-care practice skills, particularly during large-scale crisis, such as COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 18 March 2021

Self-direction of home and community-based services in the time of COVID-19

Journal of Gerontological Social Work

During the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes and assisted living facilities have accounted for over 20% of all infections, adult day care and other congregate sites have closed, and traditional home care agencies are facing staff shortages. In this environment, self-direction of home and community-based services, where the participant can hire their own staff and manage a budget that can be used for a broad range of goods and services including home modifications and assistive devices, is seen as a promising intervention. Using self-direction participants can minimize the number of people who enter their homes and pay close family and friends who were already providing many hours of informal care, and now may be unemployed. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is encouraging this approach. This commentary presents information on how states have responded using the new CMS Toolkit by expanding who can be a paid caregiver, increasing budgets and broadening the kinds of items that can be purchased with budgets to include items like personal protective equipment and supports for telehealth. This Commentary concludes with policy and research questions regarding how the delivery of long-term services and supports (LTSS) may change as the world returns to“normal”.

Last updated on hub: 28 January 2021

Self-direction of home and community-based services in the time of COVID-19

Journal of Gerontological Social Work

During the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes and assisted living facilities have accounted for over 20% of all infections, adult day care and other congregate sites have closed, and traditional home care agencies are facing staff shortages. In this environment, self-direction of home and community-based services, where the participant can hire their own staff and manage a budget that can be used for a broad range of goods and services including home modifications and assistive devices, is seen as a promising intervention. Using self-direction participants can minimize the number of people who enter their homes and pay close family and friends who were already providing many hours of informal care, and now may be unemployed. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is encouraging this approach. This commentary presents information on how states have responded using the new CMS Toolkit by expanding who can be a paid caregiver, increasing budgets and broadening the kinds of items that can be purchased with budgets to include items like personal protective equipment and supports for telehealth. This Commentary concludes with policy and research questions regarding how the delivery of long-term services and supports (LTSS) may change as the world returns to“normal”.

Last updated on hub: 20 June 2020

Service response to domestic abuse during COVID-19: ESSS Outline

The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services

This evidence summary seeks to address the following question relating to domestic abuse: How are services currently responding to domestic abuse during COVID-19? The summary largely draws on the developing guidelines and recommendations that statutory and third sector organisations are producing with regards to domestic abuse and COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 05 June 2020

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