COVID-19 resources

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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

Sexual violence and COVID-19: all silent on the home front

Journal of Gender-Based Violence

In this article, we reflect on the framing of violence against women in mainstream media in the UK, and some policy documents and guidance, in the first four weeks of the COVID-19 induced lockdown. In so doing, we consider the implications associated with the frequent failure to acknowledge sexual violence as a unique, and discrete, element of violence against women. Amid a context of overshadowing and absence, we also raise for debate (and recognition) the likely challenges associated with moving specialist voluntary sector sexual violence organisations into workers’ homes, to enable service provision to continue. In developing our arguments, we draw on conversations with voluntary sector sexual violence practitioners in England and existing literature that highlights the importance of the boundary between home and the job, when working with the ‘taint’ of sexual offences. Such a boundary rapidly recedes when sexual violence services, and their functions, are moved into workers’ living spaces. We set out some of the likely impacts of this changed work context and argue that projections for the resources required to manage COVID-19 in the longer term, must not forget about the needs of frontline voluntary sector workers.

Last updated on hub: 01 November 2020

Sexual violence and COVID-19: all silent on the home front

Journal of Gender-Based Violence

This article reflects on the framing of violence against women in mainstream media in the UK, and some policy documents and guidance, in the first four weeks of the COVID-19 induced lockdown. In so doing, this article considers the implications associated with the frequent failure to acknowledge sexual violence as a unique, and discrete, element of violence against women. Amid a context of overshadowing and absence, this paper also raise for debate (and recognition) the likely challenges associated with moving specialist voluntary sector sexual violence organisations into workers’ homes, to enable service provision to continue. In developing the arguments, the article draws on conversations with voluntary sector sexual violence practitioners in England and existing literature that highlights the importance of the boundary between home and the job, when working with the ‘taint’ of sexual offences. Such a boundary rapidly recedes when sexual violence services, and their functions, are moved into workers’ living spaces. This article set out some of the likely impacts of this changed work context and argue that projections for the resources required to manage COVID-19 in the longer term, must not forget about the needs of frontline voluntary sector workers. Key messages include: The UK mainstream media framing of violence against women, in the first four weeks of lockdown, missed crucial opportunities to make sexual violence visible and direct survivors into support; and the transition of sexual violence service provision into voluntary sector workers’ homes, will have longer-term implications that require resources to manage.

Last updated on hub: 23 September 2020

Shaping the Covid decade: addressing the long-term societal impacts of COVID-19

The British Academy

This policy paper builds on an evidence review, set out in our companion report The Covid decade: understanding the long-term societal impacts of COVID-19, which concluded that there are nine interconnected areas of long-term societal impact arising from the pandemic which could play out over the coming COVID decade, ranging from the rising importance of local communities, to exacerbated inequalities and a renewed awareness of education and skills in an uncertain economic climate. From those areas of impact we identified a range of policy issues for consideration by actors across society, about how to respond to these social, economic and cultural challenges beyond the immediate short-term crisis. These are: build multi-level governance structures based on empowering participation, engagement and cooperation to strengthen the capacity to identify and respond to local needs; improve the way we develop, share and communicate knowledge, data and information to enable all decision-makers to work from shared understanding of the facts; prioritise investment in digital infrastructure as a critical service to eliminate the digital divide, improve communication and joint problem solving, and create a more equitable basis for education and employment; reimagine urban spaces to support sustainable and adaptable local businesses, amenities, and lifestyles; create a more agile, responsive education and training system capable of meeting the needs of a new social and economic environment and acting as a catalyst to develop and enhance our future; strengthen and expand community-led social infrastructure that underpins the vital services and support structures needed to enhance local resilience, particularly in the most deprived areas; empower a range of actors, including business and civil society, to work together with a sense of social purpose to help drive a solid strategy for recovery across the economy and society.

Last updated on hub: 24 March 2021

Sharing voices in response to Covid-19

National Mental Capacity Forum

This webinar provides guidance and practical tips in relation to MCA and DoLS during Covid-19; signposts to early resources and guidance for frontline workers and carers; and provides advice on how to support the team’s wellbeing.

Last updated on hub: 15 September 2020

Shining a light on care homes during the COVID 19 pandemic in the UK 2020

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the link between age discrimination and the injustices that have taken place in our care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic in this country. It seeks to show how destructive age discrimination is to those who live in our care homes and attempts to shake up our attitudes to older people, as the pandemic continues. It is hoped that shifts in attitude would lead to a societal revolution in care and support for older people as the pandemic shows us how the current system is breaking down. Design/methodology/approach: This is a personal insight into the plight of the care home sector during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. The writer has worked in the field of social care and older people’s services for many years and felt compelled to share her learning and observations. This led to venturing more deeply into understanding why those who live, work and visit care homes have been so neglected and “cast into the shadows” in the face of such desperate danger. Whilst tracking the media narrative during the first wave, she attempts to apply her knowledge, in particular gained from working for Help the Aged (now Age UK) as a policy manager for Quality Care, but also draws on experiences as a social worker, commissioner and care provider from the 1980’s to the present. By “shining a light” on care homes, revealing that the darker practices that have taken place contravene the Human Rights Act 1998, it is hoped that the recognition of age discrimination will happen at every level and become better known in its application. The paper observes how deeply rooted it is in us all. Findings: Having highlighted some shocking examples of bad practice from the authorities relating to care homes, the article concludes that Government policy on care homes from March to July 2020 was discriminatory and questions how far lessons have been learned. The legislation is in place in the form of the Human Rights Act 1998 to protect older people in care homes but is not being widely implemented at regional policy level. Government rhetoric remains far from reality Instead of redressing the gap and admitting mistakes, there is evidence at a high level of continued denial and the projection of blame on to the care homes themselves. Originality/value: The author’s professional background includes meeting the founder of the Gray Panthers, Maggie Kuhn, in the United States in the 1988. This was a defining moment that gave her an original insight into age discrimination and influenced her entire career. It eventually led to her working in national policy for one of the most influential charities for older people at the turn of the millennium, Help the Aged. Here, she co-founded the My Home Life Programme (promoting quality of life in care homes). The paper offers a unique insight into why it is so challenging to achieve quality of life for older people needing care and should be of interest to policymakers, clinical commissioning groups, local authorities, older people’s care providers and carer and user organisations.

Last updated on hub: 29 December 2020

Social assistance institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic: experiences of Polish social workers

International Social Work

This article aims to present the results of a quantitative study (which used the Computer-Assisted Web Interview [CAWI] technique) conducted among social workers from social assistance institutions in the Wielkopolska region – the second-largest first-level administrative unit in Poland in terms of area. The aim of the research was to diagnose and describe the main changes in the functioning of institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

Social care 360

King's Fund

Updated with 2018/19 data, this review of the adult social care outlines the state of the sector before the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic struck. It outlines and analyses 20 key trends in adult social care in England. The review is structured into six sections covering: access to services - who is accessing services and how this has changed over time; expenditure - how much is spent on social care and what's it costing councils; providers - numbers of nursing and residential home places; workforce and carers; quality and satisfaction ratings for adult social care; and how well social care is integrated with other services. It shows that the social care sector had been fragile for several years and that the unprecedented challenges for the sector in responding to Covid-19 started from this unsteady foundation.

Last updated on hub: 11 May 2020

Social care provider resilience during COVID-19: guidance to commissioners

Local Government Association

Shared guidance from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Care Provider Alliance (CPA) for local authority commissioners. The guidance summarises the pressures on social care providers arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19), and puts forward ways in which commissioners can alleviate these pressures. It aims to ensure that providers are supported to maximise availability of care and support and to remain operationally and financially resilient. Areas covered include: continuity planning, sick pay, workforce availability, rapid adjustment of support, supporting self-funders and use of non-contracted providers. The guidance does not deal with issues of infection control.

Last updated on hub: 17 March 2020

Social Care Sector COVID-19 Support Taskforce: BAME Communities Advisory: report and recommendations

Department of Health and Social Care

This is the report of the BAME Communities Advisory Group (AG), established to make recommendations to feed into the work of the Social Care Sector COVID -19 Support Taskforce. It includes a summary literature review and selections of findings from consultations that the AG has drawn upon to make its recommendations. Part 2, is an appendix, containing the other material that informed the work of the AG. The methodology for developing the recommendations in this report comprised: a rapid literature review (UK Civil Service, 2014) to scope overall thematic issues and appraise existing research on the employment experiences of BAME professionals; an online survey of BAME professionals and service users and carers; two virtual consultations on Zoom of BAME service users and carers and professionals, using the focus group method; and key informant interviews of leaders of social care organisations and faith groups. The report make ten recommendations, including that that people with lived experience should be at the forefront of developing social care policy and guidance that affects BAME communities; and that there should be parity between staff working in the NHS and social care in research, the design, development and delivery of programmes that support BAME staff through this and future pandemics

Last updated on hub: 21 September 2020

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