COVID-19 resources

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Vulnerable children and young people survey: summary of returns waves 1 to 14

Department for Education

Findings of a survey of local authorities in England to help understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on children’s social care. Local authorities were asked to report on the following areas: contact with children supported by the local authority children’s social care; children’s social care workforce; and system pressures. Headline figures for Wave 14 of the survey include: the total number of children looked after (CLA) was 7% higher than the same time in 2018 and the total number of children on a child protection plan (CPP) was 1% higher; a large proportion of CLA, children on a CPP and other children in need (CIN) have been in contact with a social worker in the last four weeks (70%, 95% and 63% respectively); the proportion of social workers not working due to coronavirus (COVID-19) has stabilised, with 3% of local authorities reporting over 10% of social workers unavailable due to coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wave 14; almost a quarter of local authorities (23%) reported over 10% of their residential care workers were unavailable due to coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wave 14, compared to 12% of local authorities in Wave 13; the total number of referrals during Wave 14 was 12% lower than the usual number at that time of year; the total number of children who started to be looked after reported in Waves 1 to 14 of the survey was 6,030. This is around 29% lower than the same period over the past three years.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

Care and support workers’ perceptions of health and safety issues in social care during the COVID-19 pandemic: initial findings, 15 April 2020

University of Kent

This paper provides initial findings from legal and survey data about the role of care and support providers in the pandemic as employers with legal responsibilities for preventing harm to staff and people who use their services. The evidence suggests that care and supports workers, care home residents and other users of care and support services are exposed to the risk of SARS-CoV-2 virus without the protections to which they are legally entitled. The research team worked with UNISON in the North West of England to analyse findings from a survey of 2,600 care workers in approximately 1,200 different settings across residential care, home care, and support services for people with learning disabilities. The analysis of results is split into three sections, covering concerns about the need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); pay problems; and other COVID-19 related health and safety concerns. The findings reveal that: a large majority of respondents believe too little is being done by employers to keep staff safe from the risks SARS-CoV-2 infection; a large majority of respondents believe too little is being done by employers to keep people using care and support safe; 8 in 10 care workers think that they would not be paid their wages as normal if they had to self-isolate; care workers who are ill with COVID-19 are not all self-isolating; care workers believe that lack of attention to minimising the risk of infection in care and support settings has directly contributed to outbreaks of COVID-19 in social care settings.

Last updated on hub: 14 December 2020

Characteristics and well-being of urban informal home care providers during COVID-19 pandemic: a population-based study

BMJ Open

Objectives Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed many healthcare systems, which has hampered access to routine clinical care during lockdowns. Informal home care, care provided by non-healthcare professionals, increases the community’s healthcare capacity during pandemics. There is, however, limited research about the characteristics of informal home care providers and the challenges they face during such public health emergencies. Design A random, cross-sectional, population-based, RDD, telephone survey study was conducted to examine patterns of home care, characteristics of informal home care providers and the challenges experienced by these care providers during this pandemic. Setting Data were collected from 22 March to 1 April 2020 in Hong Kong, China. Participants A population representative study sample of Chinese-speaking adults (n=765) was interviewed. Primary and secondary outcome measures The study examined the characteristics of informal home care providers and self-reported health requirements of those who needed care. The study also examined providers’ self-perceived knowledge to provide routine home care as well as COVID-19 risk reduction care. Respondents were asked of their mental health status related to COVID-19. Results Of the respondents, 25.1% of 765 provided informal home care during the studied COVID-19 pandemic period. Among the informal home care providers, 18.4% of respondents took leave from school/work during the epidemic to provide care for the sick, fragile elderly and small children. Care providers tended to be younger aged, female and housewives. Approximately half of care providers reported additional mental strain and 37.2% reported of challenges in daily living during epidemic. Although most informal home care providers felt competent to provide routine care, 49.5% felt inadequately prepared to cope with the additional health risks of COVID-19. Conclusion During public health emergencies, heavy reliance on informal home healthcare providers necessitates better understanding of their specific needs and increased government services to support informal home care.

Last updated on hub: 10 December 2020

Building relational research capacity in care homes in the COVID-19 era: applying recognition theory to the research agenda

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

Purpose: Research can be an influential driver in raising care home standards and the well-being and human rights of residents. This paper aims to present a case for how a relational research capacity building programme could advance this agenda. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses Axel Honneth’s Recognition Theory as a lens through which to explore organisational and institutional factors (such as research capacity and investment) that can either enable or limit “recognition” in the context of research in care homes. This paper draws on recent evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK and worldwide, to argue that such a relational capacity building agenda is even more pressing in the current context, and that it resonates with evidence from existing relational capacity building initiatives. Findings: A lack of relevant research arguably contributed to the crisis experienced by the care home sector early in the pandemic, and there are only tentative signs that residents, care home providers and staff are now informing the COVID-19 research agenda. Evidence from pre COVID-19 and insights from Honneth’s Recognition Theory suggest that relational approaches to building research capacity within the care home sector can better generate evidence to inform practice. Originality/value: This is a novel application of recognition theory to research in the care home sector. Drawing on theory, as well as evidence, has enabled the authors to provide a rationale as to why relationship-based research capacity building in care homes warrants further investment.

Last updated on hub: 10 December 2020

A green social work perspective on social work during the time of COVID‐19

International Journal of Social Welfare

COVID‐19 has challenged social workers to engage with health pandemics and provide essential services in conditions of uncertainty and high risk. They have safeguarded children, older adults and diverse adults in ‘at risk’ groups under tough conditions mediated by digital technologies, adhered to government injunctions, maintained social and physical distancing under lockdown and worked from home remotely. Social workers and social care workers have risen to the challenges, providing services with inadequate personal protective equipment and limited supervision and support. This article highlights the degraded physical environments, socio‐economic and political contexts that intensify precariousness and constraints that neoliberalism imposed on professional capacity before and during this health pandemic. It provides guidelines to protect practitioners and service users. It concludes that practitioners ought to understand zoonotic diseases, environmental concerns, acquire disaster expertise and training, widen their practice portfolio and value their contributions to this pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 10 December 2020

Recommendations for welcoming back nursing home visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic: results of a delphi panel

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

Objectives: Nursing homes became epicenters of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020. Due to the substantial case fatality rates within congregate settings, federal agencies recommended restrictions to family visits. Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, these largely remain in place. The objective of this study was to generate consensus guidance statements focusing on essential family caregivers and visitors. Design: A modified 2-step Delphi process was used to generate consensus statements. Setting and participants: The Delphi panel consisted of 21 US and Canadian post-acute and long-term care experts in clinical medicine, administration, and patient care advocacy. Methods: State and federal reopening statements were collected in June 2020 and the panel voted on these using a 3-point Likert scale with consensus defined as ≥80% of panel members voting "Agree." The consensus statements then informed development of the visitor guidance statements. Results: The Delphi process yielded 77 consensus statements. Regarding visitor guidance, the panel made 5 strong recommendations: (1) maintain strong infection prevention and control precautions, (2) facilitate indoor and outdoor visits, (3) allow limited physical contact with appropriate precautions, (4) assess individual residents' care preferences and level of risk tolerance, and (5) dedicate an essential caregiver and extend the definition of compassionate care visits to include care that promotes psychosocial well-being of residents. Conclusions and implications: The COVID-19 pandemic has seen substantial regulatory changes without strong consideration of the impact on residents. In the absence of timely and rigorous research, the involvement of clinicians and patient care advocates is important to help create the balance between individual resident preferences and the health of the collective. The results of this evidence-based Delphi process will help guide policy decisions as well as inform future research.

Last updated on hub: 10 December 2020

What people are telling us: a summary July – September 2020

Healthwatch England

This report forms part of the regular updates for NHS and social care service leaders about the key issues that matter to the public. It covers the period July - September 2020 and is informed by 38,082 people’s experiences of care. The update looks at the specific issues people have raised in relation to: accessing NHS dental care; the support provided in care homes; getting COVID-19 tests. The report also provides an overview of the online advice and information the public are seeking from Healthwatch England and feedback on how people feel about their care by health and social care service area. More than 7 in 10 people (73%) found it difficult to access help and support when they needed it compared to just over 1 in 10 (11%) who could access care easily; and more than half of people (51%) expressed negative sentiments about dentistry compared with 1 in 25 (4%) who said something positive. Care homes have faced incredible challenges during the pandemic, with coronavirus disproportionately affecting residents. An ongoing concern for many remains the process for arranging visits to and from care homes for residents. The restriction in visits to and from friends and family is leading to increased isolation, loneliness and the physical and mental deterioration of care home residents. With some residents not receiving any visits at all since March, it is more important than ever that the health, welfare, rights and wellbeing of residents are prioritised.

Last updated on hub: 10 December 2020

The courage to be kind: reflecting on the role of kindness in the healthcare response to COVID-19

Carnegie UK Trust

Findings from reflective conversations of a cluster of doctors in leadership programmes on the experience and new ways of working as a result of the pandemic. The five participants in the project were able to reflect on the COVID response from roles within Scottish Government, local health board management, hospital medicine, emergency department and general practice. This report presents a thematic analysis of what was heard across these reflective conversations. It is structured chronologically and, in doing so, it tells a story of people’s experiences of change across the NHS through three distinct phases: lockdown (April-May), lifting lockdown (June-July), and remobilising (August-September). Each phase is broken down into key themes, with the voice of participants woven between. The report finishes with a discussion that summarises what has been learnt about kindness and relationships in the first six months of COVID, and considers what this might mean for the future. Although they reflected shifting dynamics, pressures and emotions, the three phases of conversations present a clear focus on what is important, and an indication of what should be valued and prioritised in health and social care renewal, in order to build a system that looks after the wellbeing of patients and staff: a meaningful conversation about staff wellbeing – too often the individual can be overlooked in conversations about the system; sustaining a common purpose – the clear focus on COVID-19 demanded and enabled a more relational approach and, more widely, kindness became a feature of interactions among staff and leadership; shifting the emphasis on targets – the experience of COVID-19 may open up a much wider conversation about how best to fit targets to a system in a way that delivers the best for both patients and staff.

Last updated on hub: 10 December 2020

Ever more needed? The role of the Leeds Neighbourhood Networks during the COVID-19 pandemic

Centre for Ageing Better

This report draws on the findings of a ‘real time evaluation’ (RTE) of the Leeds Neighbourhood Networks (LNNs) during the pandemic, as a way to understand and share learning about their response. The LNNs aim to support older people to live independently and participate in their communities as they grow older, through a range of activities and services that are provided at a neighbourhood level. The networks have developed over the past 30 years and there are now 37 of them covering the whole city of Leeds. The form, function, activities and services of the networks are diverse, but they share some key characteristics, such as running with the involvement of older people. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic there was a city-wide ambition for a symbiotic relationship between the LNNs and the health and care sector. This was linked the city’s strategic vision to make Leeds the ‘best city in the UK to grow old in’ and recognition of the need for a ‘left shift’ of resources toward prevention and the development community-based resources and assets. Although the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that this progressive policy agenda was placed on hold out of necessity as city partners focussed on addressing the acute needs brought about by the crisis, the pandemic also provided an opportunity for the LNNs to demonstrate their value by being part of this response at a city and neighbourhood level.

Last updated on hub: 10 December 2020

The multiple conditions guidebook – one year on

Richmond Group of Charities

This report revisits seven of the case studies featured in The Multiple Conditions Guidebook to find out how things are progressing in the year since their original publication. Conversations detailing the impact of Covid-19 on people with multiple conditions, and the practitioners and services supporting them, are set out in this report with case study updates from the Black Country (employment support), British Lung Foundation (peer support groups), Cornwall (self-management), Gateshead (GP health reviews), Luton (specialist exercise trainers), Southwark (social prescribing) and Yorkshire (medication reviews). Across all the case studies revisited the Taskforce heard how: there is fear and anxiety from the increased risk to life from the virus for people with pre-existing health conditions and for some a sense that these health conditions mean their lives are less valuable in the face of Covid-19; the restrictions in place to keep people safe mean that people’s health conditions are, more than ever, affecting their ability to go about their life as normal; the disruption to the health and care services that many rely on to keep well not only causes stress and worry but also a deterioration in people’s health.

Last updated on hub: 10 December 2020