COVID-19 resources

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Tackling loneliness

House of Commons Library

This briefing paper covers research into the prevalence, causes and impact of loneliness and possible interventions to address the issue. It describes cross-Government measures announced to tackle loneliness in England, and briefly outlines approaches in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The briefing covers central and local government actions, alongside the voluntary and community sector, to tackle loneliness during the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 15 June 2021

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

Telehealth, friend and foe for health care social work

Qualitative Social Work

The author describes her experience as a health care social worker with the proliferation of telehealth as the standard medium of intervention with patients since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a practicing health care social worker for more than twenty years, she describes the advent of telehealth, her introduction to it, and current experience in her outpatient practice setting. She delineates the surprising benefits it has provided to patients during the pandemic. She also outlines the threats it poses in the increasingly corporatized US health care environment to social work values and the well-being of social work's focal populations, the vulnerable, oppressed, and those living in poverty. She emphasizes the need for vigilance and advocacy by social workers as the pandemic progresses and recedes.

Last updated on hub: 17 March 2021

Telemental health for child trauma treatment during and post-COVID-19: limitations and considerations

Child Abuse and Neglect

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented disruptions and stress in the lives of children and families internationally. Heightened family stress and turmoil can increase risk for, and exacerbate, child maltreatment. As a result, child maltreatment experts are concerned that there will be an influx of children requiring trauma assessment and treatment during and after COVID-19. As physical distancing measures have been implemented and will likely persist into 2021, organizations providing trauma treatment to children and their families have had to rapidly pivot to telemental health to maintain service delivery with clients. While the benefits of telemental health have been identified, including reduced barriers to access, increased cost effectiveness, and broad availability of services, there are unique limitations to its implementation within a child maltreatment population, such as challenges with attention and emotion regulation skills, difficulties identifying dissociative symptoms, and increased time with perpetrators of abuse due to shelter in place orders. These limitations are exacerbated for children and families who are most marginalized and facing the highest levels of social and economic barriers. Lack of access to reliable technology, lack of a private or confidential space for sessions, and reluctance to process trauma in the absence of a safe environment, are all barriers to conducting effective trauma treatment over telemental health. This article discusses both the benefits and barriers to telemental health in a child maltreatment population and offers considerations for child trauma service provision, program development, and policy during and post the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 21 January 2021

Telephone befriending: a valuable service during lockdown

Healthwatch Enfield

This report gives a brief overview of the telephone befriending scheme set up in the London Borough of Enfield during the Coronavirus pandemic and a snapshot of issues raised by residents identified as being vulnerable or at risk. Overall, Healthwatch Enfield volunteers made 413 telephone befriending calls during this period. The main issue raised by participants was the impact of social isolation on health and wellbeing including mental health issues, with those residents with ongoing health needs being particularly concerned. Recipients appreciated food parcels and medicines delivery but also valued the support of family and neighbours. Most of the recipients were pleased to receive the calls and a core continued to receive these throughout the period. The report suggests that the scheme should be continued if people request it, with established organisations being asked to support the calls. If or when a second wave arises, arrangements should be made to re-establish the full service.

Last updated on hub: 01 September 2020

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