COVID-19 resources

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The return to school for disabled children after lockdown

Disabled Children’s Partnership

Findings from an online poll of parent carers of disabled children and young people exploring how the full re-opening of schools had gone for their disabled children; and whether other support such as therapies and social care had been reinstated post lockdown. More than 3,400 parents completed the poll. The survey shows that the return to school has gone well for many disabled children. However, there are groups of children who have been let down. Many children with tracheostomies/those who need aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) had been unable to return to school. Some children with conditions that increase anxiety also had particular challenges. Parents reported delays in assessments for Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), which may have been a result of the relaxation of the statutory requirements over the spring and summer. Some families requested part-time timetables to help ease their children back into school routines while others have been told by the school that they can only attend part-time – there were concerns from some of these families about the amount of support they were getting with home learning. There were challenges with the wider services and support that SEND children need in order to learn – mental health support, therapy, health and social care, transition and social activities, transport. Many children/families lost services during lockdown and had not yet had them restored. The report calls on the government, local authorities and the health service to ensure the right support is in place, including where appropriate medical support, therapies and mental health services, to enable children to successfully return to school; and to ensure that where children are not in school they and their families are able to continue learning at home.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and health inequalities

Welsh Government

The objective of this paper is to understand current and future health inequalities around COVID-19 and suggest some potential mitigations for these inequalities. Based on data from the first few months, the report reveals that people in the most deprived fifth of the population in Wales are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital, to end up in ICU, and to die from COVID-19 as those from the least deprived fifth. Data from England and some limited data for Wales suggest there has been proportionally more hospital admissions and deaths in BAME groups. In addition, deprived groups may be more vulnerable to indirect COVID-19 harms due to additional pressures on the health and social care system; and they may be more vulnerable to harms from lockdown changing people’s way of life and affecting their mental health, as well as their physical health, and for some, increasing the risk of domestic violence or children being exposed to adverse childhood experiences and trauma. The main recommendation of this report is to try to protect the most deprived population from the direct effects of COVID19 in a potential second wave, and from the indirect effects of COVID-19 on the economy which will increase health inequalities in the longer term. We will know we have succeeded in this if the gradient in COVID-19 mortality is less steep in future than in the first peak and if we see a reduction in the gradient in all-cause mortality in 2022, given that it is unlikely that inequalities will reduce in the next two years. In the longer term we need to look at policies to increase health and financial resilience across the population.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

Care home LFD testing of visitors guidance

Department of Health and Social Care

This guidance is for all care homes who are receiving lateral flow device (LFD) test kits and explains how to prepare and manage lateral flow testing for visitors. Testing visitors can reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission but it does not completely remove the risk of infection. When used alongside robust infection prevention and control (IPC) measures such as personal protective equipment (PPE) it can support care homes to safely maintain a balance between infection control and the vital benefits of visiting to the health and wellbeing of residents.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

Testing service for extra care and supported living settings

Department of Health and Social Care

Guidance on regular retesting for extra care and supported living settings that meet the eligibility criteria. NHS Test and Trace is making regular COVID-19 testing available to eligible extra care and supported living settings in England. In order to be eligible for testing, extra care and supported living settings must meet both of the following criteria: a closed community with substantial facilities shared between multiple people; where most residents receive the kind of personal care that is CQC regulated (rather than help with cooking, cleaning and shopping). This guidance covers: why testing is important; what to do if you have an outbreak; the end-to-end testing process; unique organisation number; preparing your setting; registering completed tests; returning test kits; results; where to go for support; step-by-step guide for registering a test kit after completing a test.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on care and contact: experiences in the first COVID-19 lockdown on foster carers and young people in their care: research summary

Research In Practice: Dartington

This report summarises the findings from three questionnaires, which were designed to explore the impact of lockdown on young people in and leaving care. The three questionnaires were designed for: young people in care or with care experience; carers; and birth parents. Many young people and carers described how lockdown had given them more quality time to spend with families or those they live with; over 90% of those in foster care reported relationships at home had improved or stayed the same during lockdown. There were mixed views on virtual family time. While some felt it was a more flexible and convenient option which gave young people more control over the situation, the lack of physical contact was an issue for some, as was the additional responsibility this placed on foster carers to help manage family time. In respect of virtual contact with social workers / personal advisors, over 80% of young people and 90% of carers felt this was the same or better than their contact prior to lockdown, citing increased availability and convenience. However, some people felt there had been a reduction in the amount of contact, and this was particularly apparent for those who experienced a change of social worker over lockdown and did not have an opportunity to meet them. Experiences of home-schooling were also mixed, with some young people thriving due to the flexibility and one-to-one support from carers, and others struggling with the lack of routine and reduction in social contact. Carers also raised how the individualised attention supported some young people’s learning; however, some foster carers commented on the considerable responsibility and time commitments of home-schooling. The wellbeing of children and young people varied considerably over lockdown, with some enjoying the experience and increased free time, and others missing the structure of school and relationships with friends and family.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on care and contact: experiences in the first COVID-19 lockdown on foster carers and young people in their care

Research In Practice: Dartington

This report summarises the findings from three questionnaires, which were designed to explore the impact of lockdown on young people in and leaving care. The three questionnaires were designed for: young people in care or with care experience; carers; and birth parents. Many young people and carers described how lockdown had given them more quality time to spend with families or those they live with; over 90% of those in foster care reported relationships at home had improved or stayed the same during lockdown. There were mixed views on virtual family time. While some felt it was a more flexible and convenient option which gave young people more control over the situation, the lack of physical contact was an issue for some, as was the additional responsibility this placed on foster carers to help manage family time. In respect of virtual contact with social workers / personal advisors, over 80% of young people and 90% of carers felt this was the same or better than their contact prior to lockdown, citing increased availability and convenience. However, some people felt there had been a reduction in the amount of contact, and this was particularly apparent for those who experienced a change of social worker over lockdown and did not have an opportunity to meet them. Experiences of home-schooling were also mixed, with some young people thriving due to the flexibility and one-to-one support from carers, and others struggling with the lack of routine and reduction in social contact. Carers also raised how the individualised attention supported some young people’s learning; however, some foster carers commented on the considerable responsibility and time commitments of home-schooling. The wellbeing of children and young people varied considerably over lockdown, with some enjoying the experience and increased free time, and others missing the structure of school and relationships with friends and family.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020

Briefing: improving the nation’s health: the future of the public health system in England

The Health Foundation

In light of the impact of the pandemic and the government’s decision to abolish Public Health England (PHE), this briefing explores what needs to be put in place to make progress on the government’s commitments to improve the nation’s health. It begins by looking at the role government can play in improving the nation’s health before examining how England might transition to a new public health system and what the main priorities for any new system should be. The paper argues that the new system needs the right strategy, structures and resources: the strategy for creating an effective new public health system should include a cross-government commitment to level up health outcomes and enable people to live longer in good health; the structures needed include an independent body to report to parliament on the nation’s health, a national function supporting the public health system, and strengthened local and regional infrastructure; the resources needed include, as a minimum, £1bn to restore public health funding to its 2015 levels and a further £2.5bn needed to level up public health across the country. Government should also commit to ensuring that public health funding keeps pace NHS with funding increases in future. The transition to a new public health system needs to be managed carefully, to ensure that the reorganisation does not disrupt the pandemic response or lead to a weaker system in future.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020

The state of girls’ rights in the UK: early insights into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on girls

Plan International UK

Based on a representative survey of more than 1,000 girls aged 14-21 across the UK, this study provides an initial overview and analysis of some of the wider issues facing girls during the pandemic, with recommendations for action. The report focuses on girls’ safety and public spaces; mental health and wellbeing; sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR); education; and participation and voice. Key findings include: 1 in 5 girls (19%) aged 14-21 have experienced public sexual harassment; 28% feel less safe now than they did before, with regards to going out in public; 1 in 4 girls (25%) have experienced at least one form of abuse, bullying or sexual harassment online; 11% of girls aged 14-21 have not been able to afford period products; 1 in 10 (10%) of girls and young women aged 14-21 have not been able to access their usual form of contraception; 66% of girls say they are learning less now than they were in education, while 19% say they are learning the same and 15% say they are learning more, signalling that the impact of school closures is affecting girls’ education differently.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020

COVID-19 vaccinations and care homes: programme launch

Department of Health and Social Care

A letter from the Minister for Care to local authorities, directors of adult social services and managers of care homes for older adults. outlining plans for getting the first COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) to care home staff.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020

Reducing burdens on educational and care settings

Department for Education

List of data collections, services or requests which will be cancelled, paused or will continue during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020