COVID-19 resources

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Valuing voices: protecting rights through the pandemic and beyond

VoiceAbility

This report offers insight into the challenges people face having their rights upheld and being listened to during the Covid-19 pandemic. These challenges are not always new but have been exacerbated by the restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The report brings together findings from a survey of 435 advocates working across England and Wales that was carried out in June 2020. Advocates shared urgent concerns which reflect not only the restrictions that the pandemic brought but also the wider attitudes towards people who have additional support needs. The right to advocacy remained unchanged by the Coronavirus Act and restrictions enacted by government. However, the survey findings suggest that while for some people this meant good support continued, for others the restrictions meant they could not get the support they needed, when they needed it – three quarters (76%) of advocates felt the human rights of the people they support were not being fully upheld. Nearly a third (31%) of advocates had seen Do Not Attempt Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation orders (DNACPRs) being placed on the people they support without regard to the person’s feelings, wishes, values or beliefs, and without formal capacity assessments or consultation with family. One in five reported that people were being blanketly denied healthcare. Over a quarter of advocates experienced a care provider trying to prevent access to advocacy. Advocates also highlighted a lack of care planning, discharge planning, and support. The report sets out concrete recommendations for government, health and social care providers and local authorities, calling for a culture change and a reinvigorated focus on human rights that recognises individual choice and control.

Last updated on hub: 21 October 2020

Verification of Expected Death (VOED) with clinical remote support: guidance for adult social care workers: consultation version

Skills for Care

This guidance is primarily for adult social care providers in residential and community settings, outlining the process and procedures for verifying an expected death with remote clinical support. It is designed to support decision making within local systems and explains how to prepare to verify an expected death with remote support. The Coronavirus Act 2020 and recent government guidance makes special arrangements for verifying an expected death with clinical remote support in a community setting, such as care homes, supported living accommodation or when a person receives care in their own home. The guide covers: what providers and managers need to think about beforehand to inform decision making about verifying expected death with clinical remote support and who to involve; information to support decision making of whether care staff will verify a person’s death with remote support; the process of verifying an expected death with remote support; what to consider after the process, care of the deceased and the family and the importance of employee wellbeing and support for those involved, including sources of support.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Verification of Expected Death with clinical remote support for a care worker during Covid-19 time of emergency [Consultation version]

Skills for Care

This infographic provides step by step guidance for adult social care providers and registered managers on the process of verifying an expected death with remote support. The Coronavirus Act 2020 and recent government guidance makes special arrangements for verifying an expected death with clinical remote support in a community setting, such as care homes, supported living accommodation or when a person receives care in their own home.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Veteran perspectives on adaptations to a VA residential rehabilitation program for substance use disorders during the novel coronavirus pandemic

Community Mental Health Journal

Individuals attending residential rehabilitation programs for substance misuse are particularly vulnerable to treatment disruptions spurred by the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We describe adaptations to services within a large residential rehabilitation program for under-resourced veterans, report veterans’ experiences with these changes, and outline successes and challenges encountered throughout adjustment to the pandemic. Data collected from two focus groups with nine veterans engaged in this program during the pandemic highlight experiences of inconsistent communication about residential policies, interruptions to medical and addiction services, and feelings of confinement and social isolation. Overall, these findings suggest the need for health systems to support clients in taking an active role in communications, provide additional technical and social support in transitioning to virtual health services, and offer alternative means for clients to maintain social connection during a pandemic. Understanding clients’ perspectives can inform strategies to promote continuity of care and enhanced care experiences.

Last updated on hub: 03 June 2021

Video calls for reducing social isolation and loneliness in older people: a rapid review (Review)

Cochrane

A rapid review to assess the effectiveness of video calls for reducing social isolation and loneliness in older adults. The review also sought to address the effectiveness of video calls on reducing symptoms of depression and improving quality of life. Selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi‐RCTs (including cluster designs) were eligible for inclusion. Main results: Three cluster quasi-randomised trials, which together included 201 participants were included in this review. The included studies compared video call interventions to usual care in nursing homes. None of these studies were conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each study measured loneliness using the UCLA Loneliness Scale. The evidence was very uncertain and suggests that video calls may result in little to no difference in scores on the Geriatric Depression Scale compared to usual care at three months' follow-up. Conclusion: Based on this review there is currently very uncertain evidence on the effectiveness of video call interventions to reduce loneliness in older adults. The review did not include any studies that reported evidence of the effectiveness of video call interventions to address social isolation in older adults. The evidence regarding the effectiveness of video calls for outcomes of symptoms of depression was very uncertain. Future research in this area needs to use more rigorous methods and more diverse and representative participants.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Violence against children during COVID-19: assessing and understanding change in use of helplines

Child Abuse and Neglect

Background: Many of the measures taken by countries to contain the spread of COVID-19 have resulted in disruptions to child protection services. Despite this, many countries have worked to ensure that child helplines remain operational, making such mechanisms even more critical for reporting and referring cases of violence and for providing support to victims. Objective: The purpose of this paper is to document what has occurred, and been reported, to child helplines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants and Setting: The study entailed primary data collection from child helplines and a search of media articles and news stories. Methods: Child helplines submitted data on the contacts received during the first six months of 2020. Data on contacts related to violence were also available from 2019, and used as baseline. The media search used a combination of search terms to identify relevant articles and news stories published between March 1 and June 17, 2020. Results: Overall, the number of contacts to child helplines seems to have drastically increased since the beginning of the pandemic. However, the number of contacts related to violence has increased in some countries, while it decreased in others. Conclusions: While a mixed picture emerges with respect to violence, the increase in overall contacts made to child helplines provides evidence that such services are a critical lifeline for many children and women during times of crisis. Child helplines should be strengthened; and child protection services should be designated as essential during emergencies to ensure children receive the support they need.

Last updated on hub: 14 June 2021

Violence against children in the time of COVID-19: what we have learned, what remains unknown and the opportunities that lie ahead

Child Abuse and Neglect

The emergence of COVID-19 as a global pandemic has disrupted the daily lives of children and families around the world, with impacts both immediate and likely long-lasting. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the international community recognized violence against children to be both universal and widespread, affecting children in every country, regardless of wealth or social status (UNICEF, 2014). We also know that girls and boys experience violence across all stages of childhood, often at the hands of trusted individuals with whom they interact on a daily basis (UNICEF, 2017). Sadly, most child victims never disclose their experiences of violence to anyone or seek help (Pereira et al., 2020). Now, several months into the pandemic, researchers across the globe are attempting to find out how the health and socioeconomic crisis brought about by the coronavirus is affecting children’s exposure to violence...

Last updated on hub: 14 June 2021

Virtual family town hall: an innovative multi-family telehealth intervention during COVID-19

Social Work in Health Care

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to the U.S. mental healthcare system. Immediate action has been required to transform existing social work practice models to ensure uninterrupted delivery of essential mental health services. This paper describes how clinicians in a residential program, who offered an in-person multi-family education workshop, rapidly pivoted in the context of the pandemic to develop and implement an alternative and unique multi-family intervention model – a virtual family town hall. This innovative telehealth practice model serves as an exemplar of best practices amidst the COVID-19 pandemic as it prioritized health and safety, increased accessibility, and allowed clinicians to effectively respond to family members’ heightened informational needs.

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

Virtual geriatric clinics and the COVID-19 catalyst: a rapid review

Age and Ageing

Background: During the current COVID-19 health crisis virtual geriatric clinics have become increasingly utilised to complete outpatient consultations, although concerns exist about feasibility of such virtual consultations for older people. The aim of this rapid review is to describe the satisfaction, clinic productivity, clinical benefit, and costs associated with the virtual geriatric clinic model of care. Methods: A rapid review of PubMed, MEDLINE and CINAHL databases was conducted up to April 2020. Two independent reviewers extracted the information. Four subdomains were focused on: satisfaction with the virtual geriatric clinic, clinic productivity, clinical benefit to patients, costs and any challenges associated with the virtual clinic process. Results: Nine studies with 975 patients met our inclusion criteria. All were observational studies. Seven studies reported patients were satisfied with the virtual geriatric clinic model of care. Productivity outcomes included reports of cost-effectiveness, savings on transport, and improved waiting list metrics. Clinical benefits included successful polypharmacy reviews, and reductions in acute hospitalisation rates. Varying challenges were reported for both clinicians and patients in eight of the nine studies. Hearing impairments and difficulty with technology added to anxieties experienced by patients. Physicians missed the added value of a thorough physical examination and had concerns about confidentiality. Conclusion: Virtual geriatric clinics demonstrate evidence of productivity, benefit to patients, cost effectiveness and patient satisfaction with the treatment provided. In the current suboptimal pandemic climate, virtual geriatric clinics may allow geriatricians to continue to provide an outpatient service, despite the encountered inherent challenges.

Last updated on hub: 28 October 2020

Virtual home visits during the COVID-19 pandemic: social workers’ perspectives

Practice: Social Work in Action

The home visit is a key aspect of child and family social work. Following the announcement of lockdown in England, all but the most urgent of home visits ‘went virtual’ overnight. During lockdown, we spoke to 31 child and family social workers across nine local authorities in England as they began to undertake virtual home visits. Here, we focus on social workers’ reflections on virtual practice and consider the possibilities, limitations and future implications of virtual home visiting.

Last updated on hub: 27 November 2020

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