COVID-19 resources

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System thinking at Hastings community hub

Good Governance Institute

As part of a broader review of the impact of COVID-19 on life in Britain, Jane Hartnell, Managing Director of Hastings Borough Council, reflects on the significant role local authorities have in meeting the needs of their communities during the crisis. Local authorities were asked to establish community hubs, which would mobilise to complement and support those more at risk in the short term – and when the government support was not sufficient – and provide similar support to others who needed help. The members of the Hastings community hub created a local system, offering: a designated and promoted telephone helpline/triage service; a volunteer-led service offering practical support; an information service disseminating key messages with an internet TV offer (‘the isolation station’); a telephone befriending and checking in service; a system of emergency support to those with food shortages; and a local relief fund with emergency funding for community groups. In addition, a series of thematic subgroups meet regularly, bringing together a wider range of organisations to develop a systems-based approach, analyse trends and issues and anticipate further interventions, focusing on mental health; food; children, families and young people; referrals; information and communication.

Last updated on hub: 04 January 2021

Tackling domestic abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic: resource for councils

Local Government Association

Brings together resources to offer help, guidance and support for councils to tackle domestic abuse during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The document provides a brief overview of domestic abuse; looks at the new risks for domestic abuse victims and survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic; and identifies ways that councils can provide support to domestic abuse victims and tackle perpetrators’ behaviour. It highlights importance of strong partnership working between agencies; providing information on safe accommodation options; identifying safeguarding arrangements needed for children and young people; and continuing Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC) through virtual meetings. It includes links to a wide range of guidance and supporting resources. The document will be updated as and when necessary.

Last updated on hub: 22 April 2020

Tackling loneliness

House of Commons Library

The Government's Loneliness Strategy was published in October 2018. It set out a wide variety of cross-departmental measures that the Government would take to provide 'national leadership' to tackle loneliness in England. As well as explaining the Strategy and the steps taken so far by the Government, this briefing also looks at research into the causes and impact of loneliness and possible interventions. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on loneliness is also considered, alongside the measures introduced by the Government in response. Finally, this paper briefly outlines the situation in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Last updated on hub: 23 February 2021

Tackling loneliness

House of Commons Library

This briefing examines the Government loneliness strategy ‘A connected society: a strategy for tackling loneliness – laying the foundations for change’ and the steps taken so far by the Government. The strategy set out a wide variety of cross-departmental measures that the Government would take to provide 'national leadership' to tackle loneliness in England. The paper focuses in particular on progress made in relation to social prescribing; community infrastructure – housing, community spaces, transport, digital inclusion, arts, culture and leisure; and targeted support. The briefing also looks at research into the causes and impact of loneliness and possible interventions. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on loneliness is also considered, alongside the measures introduced by the Government in response. Finally, this paper briefly outlines the situation in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Last updated on hub: 29 June 2020

Taking extra care in lockdown: Ty Llwynderw Extra Care & Care and Cae’r Ysgol Independent Living bungalows, Maesteg

Housing LIN

This case study features Linc Cymru Housing Association’s development in Maesteg, Wales. It provides some context on why and how the scheme came about, reflects on its’ design and also captures how the scheme has coped under lockdown, successfully ensuring a Covid-free home to date. Flexing the design to respond to Coronavirus have in the main ensured that they functioned and adapted well for both the Maesteg and Tondu schemes. Operationally, staff were able to make changes so as to be able to use the building to best effect during the intense Covid-19 lockdown.

Last updated on hub: 17 September 2020

Technical Advisory Group: updated consensus statement on recommended testing criteria for discharge of asymptomatic patients to care homes

Welsh Government

Currently a negative RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 is required before a patient can be discharged from hospital to a care home. This paper examines, in the light of emerging knowledge of infectivity, whether an alternative testing strategy may be more appropriate. It recommends that patients that have had COVID-19 during admission but who have had resolution of fever for at least three days and clinical improvement of symptoms other than fever, and are to be discharged from hospital to a care home or other step down care can be assumed to be non-infectious if 20 days have elapsed since onset of symptoms, or first positive SARS-CoV-2 test; or 14 days have elapsed since onset of symptoms, or first positive SARS-CoV-2 test and an RT-PCR test is negative or ‘low positive’ with a Ct value ≥35. For patients with severe immunocompromised, there should be individualised discussion and assessment between clinical and microbiology teams. If these criteria are fulfilled, residents who have had COVID-19 during hospital admission would not require isolation when discharged to a care home or other stepdown facility. Residents who had not had evidence of COVID-19 infection during admission to hospital would still need to self-isolate for 14 days following discharge.

Last updated on hub: 22 December 2020

Technical note: protection of children during the coronavirus pandemic, v.1

United Nations Children's Emergency Fund

This briefing provides information to support child protection practitioners to better respond to the risk children face during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Infectious diseases like COVID-19 can disrupt the environments in which children grow and develop. Disruptions to families, friendships, daily routines and the wider community can have negative consequences for children's well-being, development and protection. In addition, measures used to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 can expose children to protection risks. Part 1 of this briefing presents the potential child protection risks COVID-19 can pose to children. Part 2 presents programmatic options in line with the 2019 'Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action' and the 'Guidance Note: Protection of Children During Infectious Disease Outbreaks.'

Last updated on hub: 06 April 2020

Technological advancements to address elderly loneliness: practical considerations and community resilience implications for COVID-19 pandemic

Working with Older People

Purpose: Loneliness has been a known severe public health concern among the elderly population during the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper aims to discuss the practicalities of using emerging technologies to address elderly loneliness and its implications and adaptations to the outbreak of corona virus disease–2019. Design/methodology/approach: The authors draw on examples from the literature and their own observations from working with older adults, to provide an overview of possible ways technology could help this population in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Findings: Technological advancements have offered remarkable opportunities to deliver care and maintain connections despite the need to stay physically separated. These tools can be integrated into crisis communications, public health responses and care programs to address loneliness among the elderly. However, it must be done strategically and informed by the type of loneliness at play, environmental factors, socioeconomics and technological literacy. Practical implications: Care-providing organizations and policymakers should consider the risk of loneliness while responding to COVID-19 outbreak, particularly within elderly populations. As a part of a broader plan, technological solutions and low-tech approaches can make a difference in mitigating loneliness. Solutions should be accessible to and usable by older adults. Provision of equipment, training and guidance may be necessary to execute a technology-centric plan; for some communities and individuals, approaches that do not rely on advanced technology may be more effective. Originality/value: Technological advancements can be a valuable tool in addressing known public health concerns, such as loneliness among the elderly populations. However, the use of this tool should be governed by the specific situation at hand, taking into consideration individual needs and environmental factors, especially the compounded effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Different technological programs and approaches are appropriate for different types of loneliness. For example, online therapy such as internet-based cognitive behavior therapy may mitigate loneliness caused by fear and online interaction such as videoconferencing may relieve loneliness caused by lack of social engagement.

Last updated on hub: 29 December 2020

Technology and innovation for long-term health conditions

King's Fund

This paper looks at four digital innovations in health services from the UK and the Nordic countries, including the TeleCare North programme to provide remote treatment for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); the Patients Know Best portal and electronic health record; remote diabetes monitoring for children at Helsinki University Hospital; and the Huoleti app for connecting patients with a support network. These examples highlight the potential of technology to empower patients, to support stronger therapeutic relationships, to support effective teamworking across professional boundaries and to create networks and communities to support patients. They also show how entrepreneurs and health services can avoid the negative effects that technology has sometimes introduced or exacerbated in health care. The case studies also demonstrate the power of technology to stitch together different health and care services, allowing staff across primary care, community services, hospital services and social care to work together to deliver joined-up care. The findings articulate some of the questions services need to answer as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and the steps they need to follow to implement digital technologies effectively after the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 05 August 2020

Telebehavioral practice basics for social worker educators and clinicians responding to COVID-19

Social Work Education (The International Journal)

Social Work’s Grand Challenge to Harness Technology for Social Good calls for educators to reevaluate their role and its significance for the future of social work. Information and communication technology (ICT)-mediated practice methods like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, gamification, and big data, among others, represent a new arena for social work practice. However, educators have been mostly inactive in developing curricula that support student knowledge, training, and decision-making on the adoption of technology for practice. In the United States, the Council on Social Work Education Futures Task Force highlighted this inaction as a matter of critical uncertainty for the field’s future. In contrast, this paper describes how a school of social work rapidly deployed a free, CE training program on the basics of telebehavioral health practice to the social work community to aid their response to COVID-19. The rapid deployment of that training has been distilled as ‘lessons learned’ for those wanting to join in efforts to address the field’s critical uncertainty regarding the adoption of technology. Information is presented about the reach of this training and includes feedback from participants. Additionally, the authors discuss whether COVID-19 can influence social work’s future rate of technology adoption.

Last updated on hub: 12 November 2020

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