COVID-19 resources

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The interpersonal and psychological impacts of COVID-19 on risk for late-life suicide

Gerontologist

Older adults experience increased risk for suicide compared to the general population, and the circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) may potentiate this risk. We discuss how current COVID-19 pandemic-related policies are likely to harm older adults disproportionately. COVID-19 pandemic social distancing policies and ethical guidelines for COVID-19 treatment may exacerbate experiences of social isolation, perceived expendability, and exposure to suffering, which are related to the 3 main components of the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide (i.e., thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness to society, and capability for suicide). The COVID-19 pandemic poses a drain on services and has drawn ethical debates about policies around treating younger adults first. These experiences may lead older adults to have reduced access to needed medical and psychiatric services and may convey damaging messages of expendability. Furthermore, the potential prolonged stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic may affect neurological, immunological, and health functioning—exacerbating suicide risk. Potential venues to increase treatment options and decrease social isolation are discussed. We acknowledge optimistic effects as well, such as “pulling together” as a society and the many valuable ways older adults may contribute during this crisis.

Last updated on hub: 29 January 2021

The jewel in the corona: crisis, the creativity of social dreaming, and climate change

Journal of Social Work Practice: Psychotherapeutic Approaches in Health, Welfare and the Community

The Coronavirus crisis links to the climate crisis in ways that challenge humankind to demonstrate an unprecedented creativity and adaptability to change. This article discusses, both in content and style, this need for creative change and what that might look like. It asserts that the current discourse, with its linear rationality and logic system will fail in the face of the enormity of such epistemological and ontological disturbance. Using the example of social dreaming as a different form of thinking, the article encourages the reader to radically reconsider thought, feelings, reason and creativity as a means to rethinking solutions for a shared future.

Last updated on hub: 23 December 2020

The lie of pandemic pivot and essential work

Qualitative Social Work

My emotional responses to this moment include feelings of anger, hope, and déjà vu. Although the scope and scale of this pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetimes, what has been especially hard is not necessarily new – nor entirely unprecedented – and therefore unavoidable. In this essay, I reflect on what was avoidable and call for better response. We must question the seemingly benign (if not optimistic) terms emerging as pandemic discourse, such as “pivot to a new normal” and “essential work,” for what they reveal of social injustice and failure to avert future crisis.

Last updated on hub: 17 March 2021

The loneliest lockdown: the impact of the pandemic on the families of disabled children, their parents and siblings: survey 2

Disabled Children’s Partnership

Findings from a survey of the Parent Survey Pane to track the experiences of disabled children and their families during the pandemic. The panel of 1,200 families has been set up to be broadly demographically representative of the population of families with disabled children across England in terms of geography, disability and ethnicity. 547 parents completed the survey. This report reveals the findings from the second survey in this series. This survey focusses on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the mental health and wellbeing of disabled children, their parents and siblings. This survey was conducted between 2 and 16 March 2021. The national plan for easing restrictions in England was announced on 22 February 2021 and 43% of respondents completed the survey following the planned return of all pupils to schools on 8th March 2021. The findings reveal disabled children and their families are at risk of developing serious mental health issues as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives. A high proportion of families are socially isolated to a level where their health may be impacted without intervention. 91% of parents indicated that their child was socially 3 isolated, with 49% of disabled children not seeing a friend in the last month either online or in person. Compared with the general population, parents completing our survey are experiencing poorer mental wellbeing and higher levels of anxiety, stress and isolation than families before the pandemic and during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost 9 out of 10 parents reported some level of anxiety and almost half (46%) had probable depression.

Last updated on hub: 24 May 2021

The longest lockdown: the experiences of disabled children and their families during lockdown 3: survey 1

Disabled Children’s Partnership

Findings of a survey of a panel of 1,200 families capturing their experiences during lockdown. The panel has been set up to be broadly demographically representative of the population of families with disabled children across England in terms of geography, disability and ethnicity. 635 families responded to the first survey in January 2021, and this paper reports on what they told us. The findings reveal disabled children are not receiving support for their disability or medical condition via health services or their school placement. Parents report a detrimental impact of their child’s disability during a time of reduced level of informal and formal support at home during the pandemic. 75% of families reported delays to routine health appointments for their disabled child. Over half of families stated that these delays had a negative impact on their child’s condition. As a result of these delays, families reported additional problems with: anxiety and behavior (70%), sleep (66%) and loneliness (65%). More than 3 in 10 families felt their disabled child had depression. The situation is compounded for those children accessing support for their disability via their nursery, school, college or placement. 70% or more children could not access therapies such as occupational therapy, physical or physiotherapy, play therapy, speech and language therapy or music therapy. 72% of families reported that their EHCP or SEN plan had been negatively affected during the pandemic, with 67% stating that they were getting some or none of the support detailed.

Last updated on hub: 09 March 2021

The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Department of Health and Social Care

Emergency guidance for health and social care staff in England and Wales who are caring for adults who lack the relevant mental capacity to consent to their care and treatment during the coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. The guidance is designed to minimise additional pressures on hospitals and care home and ensures that decision makers are clear about the steps they need to take. It focuses on new scenarios and potential ‘deprivations of liberty’ created by the outbreak. The guidance states that it may be necessary during the COVID-19 Pandemic to "to change the usual care and treatment arrangements of somebody who lacks the relevant mental capacity to consent to such changes" and that changes to a person’s care or treatment in these scenarios will not constitute a new deprivation of liberty. The guidance includes a decision-making flow chart for decision makers in hospitals and care home. The guidance will apply until withdrawn by the Department.[First published 9 April 2020; last updated 27 April 2021].

Last updated on hub: 14 April 2020

The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: additional guidance

Department of Health and Social Care

Emergency guidance for health and social care staff in England and Wales who are caring for adults who lack the relevant mental capacity to consent to their care and treatment during the coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. This document provides additional guidance to supplement 'The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic', which was published in April 2020. It includes guidance on: testing someone who lacks the relevant mental capacity; providing life-saving treatment to someone who lacks the capacity to consent; hospitals and care homes; and using emergency public health powers when someone who lacks relevant capacity needs to be isolated because they have symptoms and are not following public health advice. [First published 29 May 2020; last updated 12 January 2021]

Last updated on hub: 01 June 2020

The mental health effects of the first two months of lockdown and social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK

Institute of Fiscal Studies

Mental health in the UK worsened substantially as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic – by 8.1% on average and by much more for young adults and for women which are groups that already had lower levels of mental health before Covid-19. Hence inequalities in mental health have been increased by the pandemic. Even larger average effects are observed for measures of mental health that capture the number problems reported or the fraction of the population reporting any frequent or severe problems, which more than doubled for some groups such as young women. It is important to control for pre-existing recent trends in mental health when attempting to understand and isolate the effects of Covid-19.

Last updated on hub: 17 June 2020

The mental health emergency: how has the coronavirus pandemic impacted our mental health?

MIND

Sets out findings of a survey to understand the experiences of people with pre-existing mental health problems during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the challenges that they are facing, the coping strategies that they are using, and the support they would like to receive. The report highlights how pre-existing inequalities have been worsened by the pandemic with some groups being more likely to report that their mental health has declined, including women, people with disabilities, those living in social housing, people with eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, or personality disorders, and frontline workers. Whilst the research did not find a significant difference in the overall rate of decline in mental health for people from BAME communities in comparison to White people, they did report that their mental health got worse. Key learnings set out in this report include: more than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said that their mental health has gotten worse during the period of lockdown restrictions, from early April to mid-May; restrictions on seeing people, being able to go outside and worries about the health of family and friends are the key factors driving poor mental health; feelings of loneliness have made nearly two thirds of people’s mental health worse during the past month; many people do not feel entitled to seek help, and have difficulty accessing it when they do; a quarter of adults and young people who tried to access support were unable to do so - not feeling comfortable using phone/video call technology has been one of the main barriers to accessing support.

Last updated on hub: 20 July 2020

The metrics matter: improving comparisons of COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

In the United States, nursing facility residents comprise fewer than 1% of the population but more than 40% of deaths due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Mitigating the enormous risk of COVID-19 to nursing home residents requires adequate data. The widely used Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) COVID-19 Nursing Home Dataset contains 2 derived statistics: Total Resident Confirmed COVID-19 Cases per 1000 Residents and Total Resident COVID-19 Deaths per 1000 Residents. These metrics provide a misleading picture, as facilities report cumulative counts of cases and deaths over different time periods but use a point-in-time measure as proxy for number of residents (number of occupied beds in a week), resulting in inflated statistics. This paper proposes an alternative statistic to better illustrate the burden of COVID-19 cases and deaths across nursing facilities. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting and Participants: Using the CMS Nursing Home Compare and COVID-19 Nursing Home Datasets, this study examined facilities with star ratings and COVID-19 data passing quality assurance checks for each reporting period from May 31 to August 16, 2020 (n = 11,115). Methods: This study derived an alternative measure of the number of COVID-19 cases per 1000 residents using the net change in weekly census. For each measure, this study compared predicted number of cases/deaths by overall star rating using negative binomial regression with constant dispersion, controlling for county-level cases per capita and nursing home characteristics. Results: The average number of cases per 1000 estimated residents using our method is lower compared with the metric using occupied beds as proxy for number of residents (44.8 compared with 66.6). This study found similar results when examining number of COVID-19 deaths per 1000 residents. Conclusions and Implications: Future research should estimate the number of residents served in nursing facilities when comparing COVID-19 cases/deaths in nursing facilities. Identifying appropriate metrics for facility-level comparisons is critical to protecting nursing home residents as the pandemic continues.

Last updated on hub: 29 April 2021

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