COVID-19 resources

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New term, new challenges, new opportunities: putting children’s mental health at the heart of education

BARNARDO'S. Northern Ireland

Findings from a survey of 167 education professionals in schools across Northern Ireland to shed a light on their experiences of the Covid-19 crisis so far, and their thoughts and concerns about the return to the classroom. This briefing highlights key lessons about the impact of the pandemic on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people and outlines how schools are seeking to strengthen support for their pupils and the challenges they anticipate when the new term starts. Key findings include: the overwhelming majority of schools agreed that the pandemic impacted on their ability to provide mental health and wellbeing support to pupils – lack of direct, face-to-face contact with children and young people was identified as a key barrier to providing this support; nearly all respondents (96.1%) said they anticipate changes to the way their school will operate when pupils return, and the majority of respondents said that they would be prioritising mental health and wellbeing on the return to school; over 80% of participants sought an increase in funding to support mental health and wellbeing; and respondents said the best way to support them on the return to school is to ensure clear guidance and direct communication from the Department of Education and the Education Authority. The report includes recommendations for the government and ten top tips for schools.

Last updated on hub: 20 August 2020

New ways of working? A rapid exploration of emerging evidence regarding the care of older people during COVID19

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Health and social care staff have had to quickly adapt, respond and improve teamwork, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective was to rapidly summarize the emerging evidence of new ways of working in the care of older people during this period. This study conducted an exploration of the emerging evidence within the timeframe of 1 March 2020 to 11 May 2020. To capture a broad perspective, this study undertook thematic analysis of Twitter data which was extracted through a broad search for new ways of working in health and social care. For a more in-depth focus on the health and social care of older people, this study undertook a systematic scoping of newspapers using the Nexis UK database. This study undertook a validation workshop with members of the interprofessional working group of the Irish National Integrated Care Programme for Older People, and with researchers. A total of 317 tweets were extracted related to six new ways of working. There was evidence of using telehealth to provide ongoing care to patients; interprofessional work; team meetings using online platforms; trust and collaboration within teams; as well as teams feeling empowered to change at a local level. 34 newspaper articles were extracted related to new ways of working in the care of older people, originating in England (n = 17), Wales (n = 6), Scotland (n = 6), Ireland (n = 4) and Germany (n = 1). Four main themes were captured that focused on role expansion, innovations in communication, environmental restructuring and enablement. The results of this exploration of emerging evidence show that health and social care teams can transform very rapidly. Much of the change was based on goodwill as a response to the pandemic. Further analysis of empirical evidence of changing practices should include the perspectives of older people and should capture the resources needed to sustain innovations, as well as evaluate gaps in service provision.

Last updated on hub: 13 November 2020

News from our societies – IFSW: COVID-19: the struggle, success and expansion of social work – reflections on the profession’s global response, 5 months on

International Social Work

This opinion piece has been written to start a conversation about the changes in delivery of social services brought about by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. It draws on countless verbal conversations and more than 80 written reports received by the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) as the social work response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has unfolded. The author suggests change in the delivery of social services normally takes years. There are exceptions, where political direction coincides with the aspirations of the communities and social services workforce, but these are rare. The journey over the last five months is something new: a change at global level caused by a pandemic, where social workers have been and continue to be at the forefront advocating and leading change in nearly every country.

Last updated on hub: 16 July 2020

Next steps for funding mental healthcare in England: prevention

Royal College of Psychiatrists

Focusing on prevention, this paper considers the next steps for funding mental healthcare in England. It is the second in a series covering four areas that must be fully and sustainably resourced if there is to be the progress in the access to and quality of mental health services. These areas include infrastructure, prevention, people, and technology. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of community cohesion and drawing on community resources in the widest sense and the need to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent poor mental and physical health at the earliest opportunity. The paper makes a case for an increase in the funding available to local government and the NHS to enable: local authorities to prepare and respond to increasing levels of mental distress and co-morbid physical health problems in the population due to COVID-19 and as a result of lockdown, which has caused anxiety and loneliness, amongst other issues; mental health providers to prepare for an increase in demand for NHS mental health services (both planned and unplanned) as services deliver the ambitions of the LTP while also addressing a backlog of patients; local authorities and the NHS to prepare for an increase in demand for drug and alcohol use disorder services given the way in which the pandemic has exacerbated these illnesses, and the reduced availability of some services during the peak; and local authorities and the NHS to prepare for an increase in demand for mental health social care support, given the need to discharge patients safely into the community with a package of care in place and for the impact the pandemic is having on children and young people and their families.

Last updated on hub: 17 September 2020

NHS Reset: a new direction for health and care

NHS Confederation

This report summarises the insights from an engagement exercise with health and care stakeholders, including a survey of more than 250 leaders from across the NHS, as part of NHS Reset, an NHS Confederation campaign to help reset the way the system plans, commissions and delivers health and care in the aftermath of the Covid-19. The report focuses on the key challenges that the health and care system faces, including: health inequalities; the health and care workforce; funding and capacity; integration and system working; letting local leaders lead; and social care. In relation to the latter, the report argues that ensuring the effective functioning of the NHS will require a reform of social care, including stable and adequate funding, a social care long term plan that runs parallel to and supports the NHS Long Term Plan, a well-resourced and trained workforce, and outcomes-based commissioning. The report posits that five factors will be fundamental to achieving a sustainable health and care system. These are: honesty and realism – government investment to support new ways of working that will enable it to fully and safely restore services, as well as the understanding of the public while services adjust and deal with a large backlog of patients needing care; extra funding; a lighter, leaner culture – empowering local leaders and clinicians to adopt more agile ways of working; integrating health and care; and tackling health inequalities – through a radical and conscious shift towards a strategy based on population health.

Last updated on hub: 01 October 2020

NICE guidance: preventing infection and promoting wellbeing

Skills for Care

This webinar – delivered by NICE – focuses on two areas of NICE guidance: helping to prevent infection and promoting positive mental wellbeing, considering the particular challenges for social care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar also covers NICE COVID-19 rapid guidelines and NICE social care quick guides.

Last updated on hub: 29 June 2020

No end in sight: the impact of the pandemic on disabled children, their parents and siblings: survey 3

Disabled Children’s Partnership

Findings from a survey of the Parent Survey Pane to track the experiences of disabled children and their families during the pandemic. The panel of 1,200 families has been set up to be broadly demographically representative of the population of families with disabled children across England in terms of geography, disability and ethnicity. This survey was conducted between 1st and 15th April 2021. In England, step two of the roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions commenced on 12th April enabling non-essential shops and leisure facilities to reopen. Prior to this, step one included the return to school on the 8th March and social contact was reintroduced between two households or six people outdoors from the 31st March. The survey explored the experiences of families returning to school and assessed the impact that the easing of restrictions had on their levels of wellbeing, stress, anxiety and social isolation compared with previous surveys. The findings reveal that despite the easing of lockdown restrictions, a high proportion of disabled children and their families are still experiencing severe levels of social isolation. Although there has been some improvement for families in terms of accessing support via school or the health service, the difference between current and pre-pandemic levels of support is vast. More than half of families are unable to access therapies vital for their disability. Sixty percent are experiencing delays and challenges with accessing the health service appointments they need.

Last updated on hub: 26 May 2021

No way out: children stuck in B&Bs during lockdown

Children’s Commissioner for England

An analysis of the impact of Covid-19 crisis, drawing on data from the 15 local authorities with the highest numbers of children in B&B accommodation. This research estimates that there were between 1,100 – 2,000 families in England in B&Bs on 23 March. It is estimated that this range has dropped to between 750 and 1,350 by the time full lockdown ended on 31 May. Furthermore, there was an increase in the proportion of families who had spent longer than 6 weeks in B&Bs between 23 March and 31 May, despite this being unlawful. The report argues that while living in a B&B has never been appropriate for a child, the problems have been amplified during Covid-19. Unable to attend school, children living in cramped conditions were struggling to complete schoolwork, putting them at a distinct disadvantage from their peers. Although families were technically still able to go to parks for their exercise during this time, many families were too anxious to do so. The stresses of living in a B&B are heightened when families share the building with vulnerable adults also being housed by the council or other services, such as those with mental health or drug abuse problems – being unable to escape the B&B during lockdown would have increased feelings of anxiety. In addition, the lockdown, reduced the opportunities for contact between homeless families and the professionals that normally protect them. The Children’s Commissioner calls for: support for children who were homeless during lockdown; all families housed in B&Bs to be moved out of them in the event of further local or national lockdowns; and action to prevent new family homelessness in the coming weeks and months.

Last updated on hub: 03 September 2020

Nontraditional small house nursing homes have fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

Objectives: Green House and other small nursing home (NH) models are considered “nontraditional” due to their size (10–12 beds), universal caregivers, and other home-like features. They have garnered great interest regarding their potential benefit to limit Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections due to fewer people living, working, visiting, and being admitted to Green House/small NHs, and private rooms and bathrooms, but this assumption has not been tested. If they prove advantageous compared with other NHs, they may constitute an especially promising model as policy makers and providers reinvent NHs post-COVID. Design: This cohort study compared rates of COVID-19 infections, COVID-19 admissions/readmissions, and COVID-19 mortality, among Green House/small NHs with rates in other NHs between January 20, 2020 and July 31, 2020. Setting and Participants: All Green House homes that held a skilled nursing license and received Medicaid or Medicare payment were invited to participate; other small NHs that replicate Green House physical design and operational practices were eligible if they had the same licensure and payer sources. Of 57 organizations, 43 (75%) provided complete data, which included 219 NHs. Comparison NHs (referred to as “traditional NHs”) were up to 5 most geographically proximate NHs within 100 miles that had <50 beds and ≥50 beds for which data were available from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Because Department of Veterans Affairs organizations are not required to report to CMS, they were not included. Methods: Rates per 1000 resident days were derived for COVID-19 cases and admissions, and per 100 COVID-19 positive cases for mortality. A log-rank test compared rates between Green House/small NHs and traditional NHs with <50 beds and ≥50 beds. Results: Rates of all outcomes were significantly lower in Green House/small NHs than in traditional NHs that had <50 beds and ≥50 beds (log-rank test P < .025 for all comparisons). The median (middle value) rates of COVID-19 cases per 1000 resident days were 0 in both Green House/small NHs and NHs <50 beds, while they were 0.06 in NHs ≥50 beds; in terms of COVID-19 mortality, the median rates per 100 positive residents were 0 (Green House/small NHs), 10 (<50 beds), and 12.5 (≥50 beds). Differences were most marked in the highest quartile: 25% of Green House/small NHs had COVID-19 case rates per 1000 resident days higher than 0.08, with the corresponding figures for other NHs being 0.15 (<50 beds) and 0.74 (≥50 beds). Conclusions and Implications: COVID-19 incidence and mortality rates are less in Green House/small NHs than rates in traditional NHs with <50 and ≥50 beds, especially among the higher and extreme values. Green House/small NHs are a promising model of care as NHs are reinvented post-COVID.

Last updated on hub: 03 March 2021

Normalcy for children in foster care in the time of coronavirus

Journal of Children's Services

Purpose: This paper aims to describe how a sense of normalcy for young people in foster care can be critical to their well-being. Design/methodology/approach: This paper reports on policy and practice efforts in the USA to promote normalcy for youth in care. The authors review policy that promotes normalcy and report on one organization's efforts to support these goals. Findings: COVID-19 has offered profound challenges to the goal of normalcy. Rise Above has adapted to meet the challenges. Originality/value: The authors argue that COVID may also offer opportunities to build toward a more robust paradigm of normalcy within child welfare policy and practice.

Last updated on hub: 30 December 2020

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