COVID-19 resources

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Timely lessons from a pandemic on the benefits of person centric care in long term care facilities

Since the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), there have been few deadlier places than in nursing homes. As such, several useful guidelines on coping with COVID-19 in nursing homes have emerged. The critical immediate term measures mentioned in the guidelines have longer term implications especially on quality of care. We discuss how these measures instituted for infection control can be synergistic with person-centered care which has been synonymous with quality of care in nursing homes. Citation: Wee SL, Yap PLK. (2020): Timely lessons from a pandemic on the benefits of person centric care in long term care facilities. The Journal of Frailty and Aging (JFA). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jfa.2020.28

Last updated on hub: 19 October 2020

Tips for carers during the coronavirus pandemic

Age UK

Tips for new and long-standing carers, to assist with keeping the people they are looking after happy and healthy during the pandemic. These include: look after yourself; encourage the person you care for to follow a routine; make sure they’re eating enough; help them to stay active; encourage social connection.

Last updated on hub: 28 April 2021

Tips on visiting care home residents as lockdown eases

carehome.co.uk

Brings together guidance and advice on how the public can visit care home residents as the COVID-19 lockdown measures ease. The resource covers: government guidelines to care home visits for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; how care homes enable visitors; what to do before visiting a care home; what to expect from the first visit after lockdown; and visiting a relative living with dementia in a care home.

Last updated on hub: 27 July 2020

To the top of the cliff: how social work changed with COVID-19

International Federation of Social Workers

This booklet charts the continuing transformation of social work, from the first outbreaks of COVID-19 in China in January 2020 to the new global strategy for the profession agreed at the IFSW conference in July – a set of priorities which made manifest the new sense of purpose developing in social work as a result of COVID-19. The publication serves partly as a historical archive of what has happened but may also provide inspiration, helping social workers move forward with the new global strategy in mind. It is a first outline of what the new global social work looks like, providing examples and ideas to develop further with the new goals in mind. The booklet describes how social workers are setting a strong base for the challenges ahead. They are implementing community-centred approaches which are ideally suited to pre-empting and buffering the social effects of COVID-19. The paper argues that the experience of COVID-19 can be used to work towards policy engagement with communities, active community responses that support the wellbeing of all and social services that are platforms for communities to thrive and avert catastrophe, not agencies for picking-up the pieces.

Last updated on hub: 16 December 2020

To what extent does evidence support decision making during infectious disease outbreaks? A scoping literature review

Evidence and Policy

Background: Infectious disease outbreaks require decision makers to make rapid decisions under time pressure and situations of scientific uncertainty, and yet the role of evidence usage in these contexts is poorly understood. Aims and objectives: To define and contextualise the role of scientific evidence in the governance of infectious disease outbreaks and to identify recommendations for overcoming common barriers to evidence-informed decision making. Methods: A scoping review and an expert workshop to provide additional input into recommendations on enhancing evidence uptake during infectious disease outbreaks taking place in European settings. Findings: Forty-nine records reporting on multiple decision-making processes during infectious disease outbreaks of the past ten years were included in the study. Decision makers prioritise expert advice, epidemiological data and mathematical modelling data for risk characterisation and management, but tend to be challenged by scientific uncertainties, which allow for conflicting interpretations of evidence and for public criticism and contestation of decision-making processes. There are concrete opportunities for optimising evidence usage to improve public health policy and practice through investment in decision-making competencies, relationship building, and promoting transparent decision-making processes. Discussion and conclusions: It is not necessarily a disregard of evidence that puts a strain on decision making in health crises, but rather competing interests and the lack of clear, unambiguous and rapidly available evidence for risk characterisation and effectiveness of response measures. The relationship between science and public health decision making is relatively understudied but is deserving of greater attention, so as to ensure that the pursuit of evidence for decision making does not challenge timely and effective crisis management.

Last updated on hub: 09 September 2020

Too many at-risk children are still invisible to social care

Children’s Commissioner for England

This briefing assesses the extent to which the pandemic and lockdown have contributed to making children at risk invisible to social services. Since March 2020 when schools closed at the start of the first national lockdown, more families have fallen into poverty and all the major risk factors to children – domestic violence, poor parental mental health, and alcohol/substance abuse – have heightened. At the same time there has been a significant fall (by 10% compared to the last 3 years) in referrals to children’s services as children became increasingly ‘invisible’ under Covid-19. Children have been out of school for most of the year, less likely to attend health services, and are less able to access informal support like children’s centres, many of which closed or moved online throughout the year. Many local authorities anticipated a spike in social care referrals in September with the school return. However, this spike did not occur. The latest data from the DfE showed that in November 2020, referrals were 12% lower than usual – despite schools being open at this time, so better able to identify vulnerable children. The current national lockdown and school closures risks even more at-risk children going undetected and not getting help. The response from councils to these alarming figures has been varied, with some taking insufficient action to find children who are suffering behind closed doors, despite statutory expectations to do this. Local authorities have also had access to emergency funding, although there are concerns that this has been focused on adult social care. The paper calls for all local areas to urgently and proactively work to identify vulnerable children who are not coming to the attention of services as they would usually do. Otherwise, children at risk in increasingly harmful situations will remain invisible to the system.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2021

Towards a social work of home?

Qualitative Social Work

This paper seeks to begin a consideration of the relationship between social work and home in the time of the Covid-19 global pandemic, where staying at home has become a matter of public health. It draws on my own experiences as a practising social worker as well as more personal reflections on the meaning of home, to suggest that social workers are uniquely placed to understand home. It suggests that despite this, we have perhaps lost sight of the emotional and spiritual necessity of home and that there are significant costs to doing so. As such, it calls for a re-centring of home within social work practice.

Last updated on hub: 16 March 2021

Towards resilience: redesigning our systems for a better future

Local Trust

This report considers the role resilience – the ability of a system to withstand disruption and to recover within a reasonable time period – has played during the Covid-19 pandemic and how systems, infrastructure, and way of life can be configured to 'build back better' from the crisis. It identifies five areas of structural weakness that lack resilience and are in need of urgent attention: poorly performing economy; disconnected decision-making; social fragility, including fragility of the social care sector; labour market precarity; and environmental vulnerability. Taking these areas of structural weakness into account, the report suggests how best to conceive an approach to building a resilient Britain, based on five domains: economic resilience – supply chains, food security, energy; public sector resilience – pubic services, government structures; community resilience – community groups, voluntary sector organisations; environmental resilience – climate change prevention and mitigation, environmental regulation; and workforce resilience – skills, precarity, labour market change and conditions.

Last updated on hub: 17 September 2020

Tracking the mental health of home-carers during the first COVID-19 national lockdown: evidence from a nationally representative UK survey

medRxiv

Background Unpaid carers who look after another member of their household (home-carers) have poorer mental health than the general population. The first COVID-19 national lockdown led to an increasing reliance on home-carers and this study investigates the short and longer-term impact of lockdown on their mental health. Methods Data from 9,737 adult participants (aged 16+) from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (Understanding Society) were used to explore changes in 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) score between (a) pre-pandemic (2019) and early lockdown (April 2020) and (b) early and later (July 2020) lockdown. Results GHQ-12 scores among home-carers were higher pre-lockdown and increased more than for non-carers from 2019 to April 2020 with further increases for home-carers compared with non-carers between April and July. Compared with respondents caring for a spouse/partner, those caring for a child under 18 had a particularly marked increase in GHQ-12 score between 2019 and April, as did those caring for someone with learning difficulties. Home-carers of children under 18 improved from April to July while those caring for adult children saw a marked worsening of their mental health. Home-carers with greater care burden saw larger increases in GHQ-12 score from 2019 to April and from April to July, and increases through both periods were greater for home-carers who had formal help prior to lockdown but then lost it. Conclusions The mental health of home-carers deteriorated more during lockdown than non-carers. Policies that reinstate support for them and their care-recipients will benefit the health of both vulnerable groups.

Last updated on hub: 20 February 2021

Transformation of a recreational youth group into community service group during the COVID-19 pandemic

Social Work with Groups

This narrative is based on the solidarity of a recreational youth group during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Note: Youth refers to older adolescents and young adults, 17–28). The narrative describes the journey and transformation of the youth group from playing cricket to the engagement in community service during the lockdown period. This paper also presents how the presence of the group shifted from physical to a digital platform, and the focus turned from recreation to social support; with that change in the focus, how a small group of youths turned into a larger group to mobilize and utilize resources for community service during the crisis time.

Last updated on hub: 15 January 2021

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