COVID-19 resources

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‘Never more needed’ yet never more stretched: reflections on the role of the voluntary sector during the COVID-19 pandemic

Voluntary Sector Review

This research note presents the preliminary findings from a study into the mobilisation of volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic. Data gathered from 49 semi-structured interviews with representatives from local authorities (LAs), voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations and mutual aid coordinators offer important insights into the state of the sector at this critical juncture, as we find ourselves in a third national lockdown. The role of the VCS in both strategic responses and on-the-ground community action has accorded it renewed respect and credibility. At the same time, the funding landscape for voluntary organisations is uncertain, demand for services is overwhelming, and staff and volunteers are suffering from fatigue. Our findings highlight the imperative of embedding the lessons of the first national lockdown in 2020 by valuing the sector’s contribution to the emergency effort and retaining its seat at the table, ensuring its role in economic and social recovery.

Last updated on hub: 13 April 2021

‘Not cut out for prison’: depriving children of their childhood

Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care

Children in Scotland continue to be deprived of their liberty in prison like settings. The majority of these children have not been convicted or sentenced, known as being on remand. In 2020 the proportion of children in a young offenders’ institution or prison has further increased, with additional concerns for those experiencing remand during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article explores the data about remand and the human rights experiences of children on remand. We also reflect on why such a high proportion of children who have not been tried or have not been convicted are deprived of their liberty in Scotland.

Last updated on hub: 11 March 2021

‘The faintest stirring of hope became possible’: pandemic postscript

Ethics and Social Welfare

Editorial. While it is still too early to predict what will come, it is already possible to identify some of the values embedded in the pre-COVID19 social and economic life, to examine how they stand up to the epidemic and to start setting the ethical foundations for a post-COVID19 Social Work. The values discussed in the editorial include: free market hegemony, reducing the role of the state, weakening public service, social rights erosion, the faintest hope, what would it take to learn and emerge from this pandemic a better society.

Last updated on hub: 06 October 2020

‘Uncertainty is the only certainty’: how pragmatic sociology provides a useful theoretical framework for researching the third sector during COVID-19

Voluntary Sector Review

This research note argues that pragmatic sociology is a useful theoretical framework when researching the third sector during the uncertain times of COVID-19 and beyond. It begins by introducing pragmatic sociology, which describes how actors express their values through the ‘orders of worth’ framework, and then how they justify their practices during moments of conflict, through the process of ‘tests’. This ultimately employs complex and fragile moments in history to uncover meaning making and, by extension, individual and organisational practice. This article then demonstrates useful research questions that pragmatic sociology can offer for the third sector during this uncertain time and how this theory’s utility can be applied even after the pandemic, due to its embracement of organisational dynamism, nuance and a fresh approach to power relationships.

Last updated on hub: 14 April 2021

‘We have become prisoners of our own age’: from a continuing care retirement community to a total institution in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak

Age and Ageing

Background and objectives: during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in Israel, people residing in continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) found themselves under strict instructions to self-isolate, imposed by the CCRC managements before, during and after the nationwide lockdown. The present study explored the personal experiences of CCRC residents during the lockdown. Research design and methods: in-depth interviews were conducted with 24 CCRC residents from 13 different CCRCs. Authors performed a thematic analysis of interview transcripts, using constant comparisons and contrasts. Results: three major themes were identified: (i) ‘Us vs. them: Others are worse off’. Older residents engaged in constant attempts to compare their situation to that of others. The overall message behind these downward comparisons was that the situation is not so bad, as others are in a worse predicament; (ii) ‘Us vs. them: Power imbalance’. This comparison emphasised the unbalanced power-relations between older adults and the staff and management in the setting and (iii) ‘We have become prisoners of our own age’. Interviewees described strong emotions of despair, depression and anger, which were intensified when the rest of society returned back to a new routine, whilst they were still under lockdown. Discussion and implications: the measures imposed on residents by managements of CCRCs during the lockdown, and the emotional responses of distress among some of the residents, revealed that CCRCs have components of total institutions, not normally evident. This underscores the hidden emotional costs of the lockdown among those whose autonomy was compromised.

Last updated on hub: 26 May 2021

“Act-as-if you are infected and infectious”: what has the global therapeutic community movement learnt from COVID-19?

Therapeutic Communities: the International Journal of Therapeutic Communities

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is twofold: to reflect upon what the global therapeutic community (TC) movement has learnt from coronavirus and to consider how TCs will continue to adapt and evolve in a post-pandemic climate. Design/methodology/approach: This is a viewpoint paper based on the authors’ participation in an international learning event whereby speakers from TCs from around the world spoke about how they adapted their services to overcome adversity. Findings: The findings are usefully thought out as shelter, creativity, reintegration and employment, technology and roots. Based on the material discussed in the learning event, it would seem that the global TC movement has engaged in a process of looking to the past to move forward by drawing upon founding principles and prescriptions of the TC tradition, rooted in humanistic and indeed humanitarian responses to staff, client and sociocultural needs. Originality/value: According to the author, this paper is one of the first attempts to capture how TCs from across the globe have responded to the threat of coronavirus.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

“Advocating every single day” so as not to be forgotten: factors supporting resiliency in adult day service centers amidst COVID-19-related closures

Journal of Gerontological Social Work

Adult day centers (ADCs) are nonresidential settings that support the health and social needs of vulnerable older adults. Due to ADCs’ congregate nature and participants’ compromised health status, many ADCs have been forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unknown how closures have impacted service delivery at ADCs. Guided by the Resiliency Activation Framework, we (a) identified consequences resulting from closures of ADCs during the COVID-19 pandemic and (b) described factors that have enabled the ADC community to remain resilient in the wake of challenges brought on by the pandemic. We conducted 2 focus groups in California (n = 12), and individual interviews with ADC staff members (n = 8) in 7 other states. The results of a directed content analysis revealed perceived declines in physical, cognitive, and mental health of ADC users and increased caregiver strain. Access to human, social, economic, and political capital were essential for supporting ADCs in buffering the impacts of the pandemic on the older adults they serve but were not consistently available. Research is urgently needed that quantifies the impacts of the pandemic on ADC users and their caregivers to inform policy and advocacy efforts in the wake of the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 19 May 2021

“Coming second all the time”: life in lockdown for siblings of disabled children


Findings of a survey of 876 parents, exploring the experience of siblings of disabled children during lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic. The study examines the impact of the lockdown on the mental health and wellbeing of siblings; the challenges in supporting your sibling children; the difficulties faced by sibling children during lockdown; whether the lockdown meant that siblings had to provide more care to their brothers or sisters. The analysis shows that 75% of respondents felt that their sibling child’s mental health had worsened in lockdown; 50% of siblings were providing more care; and 1 in 3 siblings are feeling isolated and missing the support of family and friends. The survey also asked what would have helped parents and siblings during lockdown. The solutions put forward include: respite; financial support; space; exercise equipment; entertainment and toys; outdoor play equipment; having a safe and accessible garden; iPads, computers and electronic games; recognition and rewards.

Last updated on hub: 16 June 2020

“It's about how much we can do, and not how little we can get away with”: Coronavirus-related legislative changes for social care in the United Kingdom

The coronavirus pandemic, referred to here as Covid-19, has brought into sharp focus the increasing divergence of devolved legislation and its implementation in the United Kingdom. One such instance is the emergency health and social care legislation and guidance introduced by the United Kingdom Central Government and the devolved Governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in response to this pandemic. This article provides a summary, comparison and discussion of these proposed and actual changes with a particular focus on the impact on adult social care and safeguarding of the rights of citizens. To begin, a summary and comparison of the relevant changes, or potential changes, to mental health, mental capacity and adult social care law across the four jurisdictions is provided. The article also critiques the immediate and longer term implications for adult social care, including mental health and mental capacity. At the time of publication several core themes emerged: concerns around process and scrutiny; concerns about possible changes to the workforce and last, the possible threat on the ability to safeguard human rights. It has been shown that, ordinarily, legislative provisions across the jurisdictions of the UK are different, save for Wales (which shares most of its mental health law provisions with England). Such divergence is also mirrored in the way in which the suggested emergency changes could be implemented. Aside from this, there is also a wider concern about a lack of parity of esteem between social care and health care, a concern which is common to all. What is interesting is that the introduction of CVA 2020 forced a comparison to be made between the four UK nations which also shines a spotlight on how citizens can anticipate receipt of services. Citation: Vicary S. et al. (2020) “It's about how much we can do, and not how little we can get away with”: Coronavirus-related legislative changes for social care in the United Kingdom. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 72, 101601.

Last updated on hub: 13 November 2020

“It's been a whole new world”: staff perceptions of implementing a person-centered communication intervention during the COVID-19 pandemic

Journal of Gerontological Nursing

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has challenged the way nursing homes deliver person-centered care (PCC). Preferences for Activity and Leisure (PAL) Cards are a tool to communicate residents' important preferences to staff. Monthly interviews (N = 32) were conducted with champions who were conducting a PAL Card quality improvement project in Tennessee nursing homes (N = 11) between March and August 2020. Three major themes emerged: Structural Changes (e.g., halting admissions, adding an isolation unit), Resident Burden (e.g., physical isolation, loneliness), and Provider Burnout (e.g., increased workload, mental exhaustion). Further, providers expressed the benefits to using PAL Cards, specifically in regard to blunting the negative impact of each theme. Results showed the overall negative impact of COVID-19 on nursing home communities. Nursing staff experienced greater burden than other staff, reflecting their prominent role in providing direct care to residents with COVID-19. Staff reported that PAL Cards helped promote PCC. [Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 47(5), 9-13.]

Last updated on hub: 02 July 2021

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