COVID-19 resources

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Social work leadership in a medical school: a coordinated, compassionate COVID-19 response

Social Work in Health Care

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the systemic inequities in our health care system and society has called for actions to meet the clinical, psychosocial and educational needs in health care settings and communities. In this paper we describe how an organized Department of Health Social Work in a medical school played a unique role in responding to the challenges of a pandemic with community, clinical, and educational initiatives that were integral to our community’s health.

Last updated on hub: 18 March 2021

Social work leadership in a medical school: a coordinated, compassionate COVID-19 response

Social Work in Health Care

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the systemic inequities in our health care system and society has called for actions to meet the clinical, psychosocial and educational needs in health care settings and communities. In this paper we describe how an organized Department of Health Social Work in a medical school played a unique role in responding to the challenges of a pandemic with community, clinical, and educational initiatives that were integral to our community’s health.

Last updated on hub: 03 March 2021

Social work leadership through COVID-19

The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services

This report provides an overview of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland between March and November 2020, from some of the individuals at the forefront of our social work services, namely Chief Social Work Officers (CSWOs). The CSWO leads local authorities and their partners in understanding the complexities and cross-cutting nature of social work service delivery. This includes issues such as child protection, adult protection, corporate parenting, and the management of high-risk offenders – and also encompasses the key role social work plays in contributing to the achievement of a wide range of national and local outcomes. The CSWO network identified the importance of taking a collective, and connected approach, grounded in a recognition that localised action should be supported by a common philosophy, rather than seeking to create common practice across local authorities. Early emerging challenges were interwoven with the immediate priorities and concerns: the impact of the pandemic on workforce capacity across services; responding to restrictions on, or immediate ceasing of, normal practice or activities; contingency planning; development of guidance for social workers. The report’s contents include: placing social work – voice and influence; the initial response; social work within wider structures; national professional identity; managing the workforce through a crisis; guidance and legislation; Social Work Scotland’s role through the pandemic; and looking to the future.

Last updated on hub: 29 March 2021

Social work practice education and training during the pandemic: disruptions and discoveries

International Social Work

The COVID-19 pandemic evoked a disruption to social work (SW) practice education and this brief note describes discoveries made in teaching SW practice virtually. One example is Virtual Practice Fridays, adapted to build SW practice competencies online, and another example is a re-designed course on cross-cultural SW practice using simulation-based learning.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

Social work practice with adults under the rising second wave of Covid-19 in England: frontline experiences and the use of professional judgement

British Journal of Social Work

The impacts on adult social work in England of the Covid-19 pandemic were sudden and are proving long-standing. In England, many social workers moved to home working and virtual contact with colleagues, managers, staff from other agencies and service users. A first national lockdown was followed by a lessening of restrictions, but a second wave started at the end of Summer 2020 and restrictions were re-introduced. This study draws on telephone interviews with a sample of twenty-two social workers working with adults in a wide range of roles and settings in ten local authorities and two National Health Service Hospital Trusts, interviewed August-October 2020. Following transcription, interview data were analysed thematically. Findings are reported under three emerging themes: using professional judgement, new and emerging case work and embedding change. These are compared with findings from studies of practice in children’s services and of surveys of social workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Implications for practice, service users and research are explored.

Last updated on hub: 15 June 2021

Social work under coronavirus: children’s practitioners report bigger problems than adults’ colleagues

Community Care

The results from a survey carried out by Community Care about practice in England during the Covid-19 pandemic. The survey was completed by almost 500 people working in adults’, children’s and mental health services, 92 percent of them qualified social workers. An analysis of responses found considerable disparities between adults’ and children’s practitioners across the measures such as: satisfaction with their employer, access to personal protective equipment and whether they had faced practice situations that made them anxious. Adults' services staff were happier with access to personal protective equipment and less likely to report increases in workload during pandemic than children's practitioners.

Last updated on hub: 08 June 2020

Social work, mental health, older people and COVID-19

International Psychogeriatrics

This commentary explores the work of social work in Ireland in addressing the impact of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) crisis on older people in general, and older people who have an enduring mental illness.

Last updated on hub: 21 December 2020

Social work’s role during and after the pandemic: keeping vigilant and hopeful on human rights

International Social Work

Editorial for this issue. COVID-19 has taken the world by storm, capturing attention and action in unprecedented ways. It has highlighted global inequalities and the political disjunctures between popularism and public health advice. The editorial suggests that social workers around the world are having to enter this storm to serve their communities and that ethical dilemmas abound as systems struggle to cope and access to resources tightens. Introduces the articles in this issue, where one paper provide insight into context of COVID-19 for social work (Truell, R.) and another considers globalisation and social work education (Flynn, S.).

Last updated on hub: 16 July 2020

Social worker wellbeing and working conditions: good practice toolkit

This toolkit is aimed at social workers in practice, social work supervisors, workforce development leads, managers, and leaders. It supports social workers to be more informed and empowered to look after themselves better at work; recognise when they need support and how to access it; develop knowledge and skills to influence their organisations; and know their rights and what they should expect from their employers. Improvements in working conditions and wellbeing for social workers require major developments in the quality and consistency of management, leadership, organisational culture, and employment practices. Readers with operational, workforce development and strategic responsibility for working conditions should use this toolkit to work together with staff to achieve shared vision and actions for change. The toolkit adopts an holistic and integrated approach, and as a result it includes key messages and signposting for all of the following people, parts of organisations and bodies providing support to social workers: social workers in direct practice; social work supervisors and practice leaders; teams and first line team leaders and managers; senior managers and organisational leaders; professional organisations/groups for social workers; and trade unions.

Last updated on hub: 22 February 2021

Social workers helping each other during the COVID-19 pandemic: online mutual support groups

International Social Work

Social workers not only help service users, they also help each other, and they know the group as a space through which opportunities to give and receive help multiply. In Italy, the initiative ‘Social Workers Helping Each Other’ was launched to help practitioners stay resilient and mutually supportive during the COVID-19 pandemic. In these unprecedented and turbulent times, social workers have been called on to face new challenges and new concerns for service users and for themselves. The initiative consisted of online mutual support groups for social workers conducted through a virtual platform. Participants were 45 social workers divided into three groups on the basis of the social workers’ area of intervention. The author facilitated the groups, encouraging the development of reciprocal support dynamics typical of self-help and mutual aid groups. Group sessions were very rich in content, and the discussion focused on several topics following the participants’ needs. The content analysis revealed that the mutual support conversations among social workers focused on three main categories: practical and organizational; methodological and ethical; and personal and emotional. The groups offered supervision and mutual support based on experiential learning processes. The article presents the rationale, methods and outcomes of the experience. This initiative could inspire the development of online mutual support groups for social workers.

Last updated on hub: 31 March 2021

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