COVID-19 resources

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The impact of Covid-19 on nursing homes in Italy

Politecnico di Milano

This brief note examines the interplay between the institutional context of care homes in Italy and the spread of the pandemic. As they faced the pandemic, care homes had both internal and external problems. On the internal side, they had to face the entry of the virus into their structures with inadequate medical staff and insufficient resources and capacity to implement distancing and other preventive actions. They were also unable to provide adequate health care to their Covid-19 patients, and very often unable to send them to hospitals. On the external side, their situation was ignored for a long time by policy makers, who were mainly focused to face the emergency in hospitals. The national lockdown of nursing homes regarding the access of relatives and external visitors – a crucial measure in order to prevent possible transmission of infection – was established only on March 4, about two weeks later the spreading of the infection. Furthermore, for many weeks not adequate attention has been paid to testing and monitoring activities among healthcare staff and patients: a priority for the implementation of such preventive activities in nursing homes was established only at the beginning of April. The paper argues that most of the criticalities came from the pre-existent difficult condition of these institutions. The more nursing homes have specialised in the intensive-health treatment of seriously non-self-sufficient elderly, the more the quality of their services had been hampered by very precarious financial and organisational conditions, co-determined by the lack of public investment in these structures. The pandemic has acted as a “focusing event”, revealing the structural weakness of this sector and the main critical problems affecting it.

Last updated on hub: 11 November 2020

The effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on people affected by dementia

House of Commons Library

A short debate pack with background material, statistics, parliamentary proceedings and news material relevant to a House of Commons' debate on the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on people affected by dementia.

Last updated on hub: 11 November 2020

Effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on refugee communities

House of Commons Library

A short debate pack with background material, press articles, government publications and parliamentary proceedings relevant to a parliamentary debate on the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on refugee communities.

Last updated on hub: 11 November 2020

Risk identification and virtual interventions for social workers

Social Care Institute for Excellence

This quick guide will help social workers and practitioners understand how to gather evidence to be able to identify and assess risks normally gathered through observation.

Last updated on hub: 11 November 2020

Written statement: Covid-19 asymptomatic testing programme for care homes

Welsh Government

A statement by the Minister for Health and Social Services in Wales informing of the decision to enable statutory partners to determine whether testing should be weekly or fortnightly in care homes in their local areas using their professional judgement informed by the data and local intelligence. The statement recognises the importance of continuing to provide some flexibility regarding the frequency of testing, to respond to the incidence and transmission in the wider local communities.

Last updated on hub: 11 November 2020

How has Covid-19 and the associated lockdown measures affected mental health and wellbeing in the UK?

What Works Centre for Wellbeing

This briefing provides insights into how mental health conditions have changed as a result of Covid-19 and what the risk factors are that need to be recognised when supporting people’s mental health. It draws on data of more than 70,000 people as part of the COVID-19 Social Study, which is run by University College London. Key messages include: anxiety and depression increased in the UK as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, with people’s mental health affected by both adverse experiences regarding their health, jobs and finances as well as worries about what might happen in the future – anxiety and depression have fallen since the highs seen at the start of lockdown but remain above pre-pandemic levels; anxiety and depression have been highest among young adults, those living alone, those living in urban areas, and people with lower household income, with children, and with a diagnosed mental illness; outdoor exercise and gardening can improve our mental health, while spending too much time following the news can be harmful.

Last updated on hub: 10 November 2020

A national Covid-19 resilience programme: improving the health and wellbeing of older people during the pandemic

This report makes the case for a National Covid-19 Resilience Programme to support older people in preparing themselves for the continuation of the pandemic and to keep them healthy over the winter. With the pandemic showing no sign of abating, it is important to ensure that older people are able to feel more control over their lives, and that they receive clearer guidance about how best to protect themselves physiologically. Covid-19 disease severity rises with age and is also associated with comorbidities, such as obesity, diabetes and coronary vascular disease, that can accompany chronological age. Home confinement in older people may cause (i) cardiorespiratory and metabolic deconditioning, (ii) insulin resistance, (iii) muscle loss and (iv) increased fat mass. In addition, social isolation may be worsened. In the absence of vaccines and treatments, physical activity (with tailored exercise or physical activity goals) represents the single most impactful way in which older people can reduce the risk of developing severe Covid-19, improve recovery, and limit deconditioning and frailty from home confinement. The report argues that a resilience programme should: encourage appropriate exercise and physical activity; support optimal nutrition; enhance mental health and wellbeing; support behaviour change to embed these behaviours. This programme might be supported by a digital platform and by national broadcasters, e.g. regular televised activity classes.

Last updated on hub: 10 November 2020

Behind the headlines: time to bring our care workers in from the cold

Age UK

This report highlights the extent to which the Covid-19 crisis has thrown into sharp relief how poorly care workers are supported to do their work. Staff shortages, lack of protective equipment, and poor pay and conditions have left many exhausted mentally and physically, challenging their ability to continue to deliver high quality care. Despite being roughly equivalent in size to the NHS workforce, the 1.65 million strong care workforce has seen limited support put in place. While the NHS has been prioritised for PPE, testing, mental health support, priority access to shops and pay rises, offers to social care have been more limited and have generally only arrived very late in the day. The report calls on the Government to rebuild the care system with properly funded and thoroughgoing reform, to ensure care work become an attractive and properly paid career, its terms and conditions on a par with the same jobs carried out in the NHS.

Last updated on hub: 10 November 2020

Lockdown. Rundown. Breakdown. The COVID-19 lockdown and the impact of poor-quality housing on occupants in the North of England

Northern Housing Consortium

This report has been produced to document the experiences of households living in poor-quality, ‘non-decent’ accommodation in the UK – with a specific focus on households in the North of England – during the height of the UK lockdown. It draws on rapidly produced primary research undertaken between May and July 2020. It involved semi-structured interviews with 40 residents from privately rented housing, ten residents from owner-occupied housing and eight key actors/professionals. The study also used a short survey to capture the views and experiences of people who preferred not to be interviewed. The findings reveal that: households were living with longstanding repair and quality issues – lockdown had ultimately worsened such conditions and impaired people’s ability to live with those conditions; many longstanding repair and quality issues were described as worsening throughout lockdown because social distancing measures prohibited contractors from entering the home; renters were having to draw on their own incomes, savings and credit to cope with the costs associated with their poor conditions, which further entrenched people in the private rented sector; the vast majority of renters had not considered the possibility of asking landlords for rent reductions when questioned during interviews; private renters were under-reporting the repairs that were needed to their homes; overcrowding was an issue most households were experiencing, with entire households living, working and spending time in the same housing space; conversely, people who lived by themselves discussed feeling isolated and lonely in the weeks when contact with family and friends was restricted to online video call facilities. There is an opportunity to learn from the first few months of the COVID-19 lockdown and take urgent action for the short, medium and long term to ensure that the housing crisis, which has been so frequently identified, does not lead to systemic or personal breakdown.

Last updated on hub: 10 November 2020

Lockdown. Rundown. Breakdown. The COVID-19 lockdown and the impact of poor-quality housing on occupants in the North of England. Policy briefing

Northern Housing Consortium

This report looks at the impact living in poor-quality accommodation had on Northern households during the pandemic. The study highlights the following five main impacts: existing poor conditions are worsening, leading to longer-periods living in non-decent accommodation; renters are under-reporting repair issues and concerns out of fear of eviction and rent increases; there is likely to be a backlog of major repairs to deal with over the coming months; there is an increase in energy use, due to more people spending more time at home – these costs are causing increased anxiety to a wider range of households; households feel financially insecure and renters feel insecure in their tenancies. The report calls for urgent action this winter and longer-term policy responses to ensure that the condition of and access to existing homes is treated as a priority equal to the importance of the supply of new homes.

Last updated on hub: 10 November 2020