COVID-19 resources

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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

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, the researchers spoke to 31 child and family social workers across nine local authorities in England as they began to undertake virtual home visits. Here, this paper focuses on social workers’ reflections on virtual practice and consider the possibilities, limitations and future implications of virtual home visiting.

Last updated on hub: 07 December 2020

Virtual multidisciplinary team meetings for the older population

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West

This rapid evidence review explores how to effectively carry out practice-level multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings virtually, specifically for older people. A review of available evidence finds that virtual multidisciplinary team (vMDTs) have potential benefits, emphasising the possibility of bringing professionals from different backgrounds to work together and provide more integrated, efficient, accessible, and higher quality care overcoming geographical and timing barriers. vMDTs usually have some disadvantages or barriers for their implementation, emphasising the need of a proper infrastructure and good, designated co-ordination. The summary provided in the review should be taken as informational and not as evidence-based practice. However, it is likely to be of use to care professionals planning to use a vMDT for the older and frail population.

Last updated on hub: 10 June 2020

Virtual sport-based positive youth development during the COVID-19 pandemic

Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

Sport is a foundational context for social, emotional, physical, and psychological development. The COVID-19 pandemic displaced many youth from their normative sport activities. As a result, sport-based positive-youth development (PYD) programs, typically delivered in person, had to reimagine ways to reach and engage youth in sport and life skill development. In fall 2020, The Los Angeles Football Club Youth Leadership Program (LAFC YLP) developed seven virtual sport-based PYD videos and one workshop for 120 socially vulnerable youth and their families. All virtual activities were designed to teach life skills through sport and play. Our study sought to explore the accessibility of the virtual sport-based PYD activities, the lived experiences of youth participants during lockdown, and learning outcomes of youth and families who participated in the program. We developed a mixed methods study using an online survey and virtual platform to allow youth to share photos, draw pictures, and leave comments about their lived experiences. Our findings indicated 53 youth and their families participated in the virtual sport-based PYD program and reported the activities were accessible, enjoyable, and challenging for the youth participants. In addition, 26 youth shared photos, images, or posts about their lived experiences. Our thematic analysis of the photos, images, and posts indicated the virtual sport-based PYD activities facilitated positive emotional responses, positive peer interaction, engagement with family, and utilization of environmental resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly, our findings also suggest virtual sport-based PYD activities may facilitate life skill transfer; an important developmental mechanism for learning in lieu of the decreased opportunities for sport and social interaction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 12 August 2021

Visiting and the law: a guide for care homes during COVID-19

The Relatives & Residents Association

This guide provides a summary of the current Government guidance on visiting inside care homes in England and the relevant legal duties on care providers. It provides an overview of the legal duties on care providers relevant to visiting, including the Care Act, Mental Capacity Act and Human Rights Act. Aiming to be practical, accessible and user-friendly, the guide also contains worked examples and pointer questions. The guide is not legal advice, but we hope it will help care homes to explore their visiting policies and practice, to help respect and protect the rights of residents.

Last updated on hub: 23 August 2021

Visiting arrangements in care homes

Alzheimer's Society

This briefing sets out the key considerations Directors of Public Health should take into account in supporting care homes to reopen for people living with dementia during the Covid-19 crisis. It argues that the balance of risks between allowing visits and preventing the spread of infection must take account of what can be a permanent decline in abilities that social isolation can bring to people with dementia. In their risk assessments, local authorities must fully consider the particular needs of people affected by dementia and put in place appropriate steps to reopen care homes to visitors and offer them the support they need to so safely.

Last updated on hub: 10 August 2020

Visiting care homes during COVID-19

Department of Health and Social Care

Guidance for making arrangements for limited visits to care homes, aimed at care providers and directors of public health. Visiting policies and decisions must aim to minimise the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission wherever possible, taking into account the circumstances of the individual care home (for example, its employee availability, resident demographics and outbreak status); and its local circumstances (local epidemiological risk, presence of outbreaks in the community). The guide sets out the principles of a local approach to visiting arrangements and dynamic risk assessment; guidance for providers establishing their visiting policy; guidance for providers taking decisions on visiting for particular residents or groups of residents; infection control precautions; communicating with relatives and others about the visiting policy and visiting decisions. [Published 22 July 2020; Last updated 12 January 2021]

Last updated on hub: 23 July 2020

Visitor restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic: an ethical case study

Nursing Ethics

To prevent and reduce the transmission of the coronavirus to vulnerable populations, the World Health Organization recommended the restriction of visitors to nursing homes. It was recognised that such restrictions could have profound impact on residents and their families. Nonetheless, these measures were strictly imposed over a prolonged period in many countries; impeding families from remaining involved in their relatives’ care and diluting the meaningful connections for residents with society. It is timely to explore the impact of public health measures on people living in nursing homes from an ethical perspective. In order to foreground the ethical dimensions of the implications of visitor restrictions in nursing homes, the researchers compiled an ethical case that reflects some recent experiences of nursing homes residents and their families, in the Irish Republic. This paper describes a series of events encountered by a woman and her family during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 and we deploy an ethical decision-making tool to guide and structure the analysis. This case analysis draws attention to ethical principles that are relevant to explicating the ethical duties and obligations that arise in relation to the interests, well-being, and safety of residents and their families, as well as nursing home staff and the wider community during a pandemic. These include the right of autonomy, trust, minimising harm, and proportionality. This paper concludes that a number of different strategies should be adopted by nursing homes and relevant regulatory bodies. This includes honest, regular communication between the nursing home staff, the resident and their family. Central to communications is the resident’s wishes, their current clinical status and the all-important wider public health obligations. National strategies include mass vaccination, the timely provision of guidance documents and interventions from regulatory bodies that are patient-centred, adaptable, and cost effective.

Last updated on hub: 02 July 2021

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