COVID-19 resources

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Combating heightened social isolation of nursing home elders: the telephone outreach in the COVID-19 outbreak program

American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Objective: Social isolation and loneliness - common concerns in older adults - are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To address social isolation in nursing home residents, the Yale School of Medicine Geriatrics Student Interest Group initiated a Telephone Outreach in the COVID-19 Outbreak (TOCO) Program that implements weekly phone calls with student volunteers. Methods: Local nursing homes were contacted; recreation directors identified appropriate and interested elderly residents. Student volunteers were paired with elderly residents and provided phone call instructions. Results: Three nursing homes opted to participate in the program. Thirty elderly residents were paired with student volunteers. Initial reports from recreation directors and student volunteers were positive: elderly residents look forward to weekly phone calls and express gratitude for social connectedness. Conclusions: The TOCO program achieved initial success and promotes the social wellbeing of nursing home residents. The authors hope to continue this program beyond the COVID-19 pandemic in order to address this persistent need in a notably vulnerable patient population.

Last updated on hub: 08 October 2020

COVID-19 series: briefing on children’s social care providers, September 2020

Ofsted

Findings from assurance visits to children’s homes under the social care common inspection framework (SCCIF) made between 1 and 11 September. This analysis covers visits to 70 homes, which were selected according to risk. Overall, the assurance visits found that most children’s homes had been managing the challenges of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic well. They had put suitable measures in place to ensure that children were safe and they remained aware of the possible impacts on children’s emotional well-being. However, homes that were not managing well before the pandemic continued to struggle. Of the visits analysed, nine identified serious and widespread concerns. Key findings include: inspectors were generally confident that children were safe and well cared for; homes reported an increase in anxiety and frustration in children around COVID19; staff worked hard to make homes fun and provided activities to support learning; staff helped children to maintain relationships with friends and families through messaging and video technology and worked with partners to ensure that specialist services continued; there was some evidence of less oversight in many homes, but much more evidence of strong leaders managing the challenges of the pandemic well.

Last updated on hub: 08 October 2020

How mental health charities are responding to Covid-19

Centre for Mental Health

This short report summarises the activities and key concerns of a group of seventeen national mental health organisations that have been working together to respond to the Covid-19 crisis in England since March 2020. Evidence collated by the charities shows that the crisis has put extra pressure on people’s mental health. Surveys and research evidence all point to an increase in mental health problems that is likely to continue for some time. Mental health charities that provide helplines or offer direct support to people and communities all report increasing demand for help. Many have had to adapt their services very quickly and find ways of meeting additional demand with reduced resources. Charities are reporting a range of concerns about the impact of the pandemic on the public’s mental health; on the lives of people living with a mental health problem; and on mental health services. Mental health inequalities that existed prior to the pandemic have been magnified as a result of the virus and the lockdown. These include both the risk factors for poor mental health and the unequal life chances faced by people living with a mental health problem.

Last updated on hub: 08 October 2020

Rapid evidence review: inequalities in relation to COVID-19 and their effects on London

Greater London Authority

This report provides the outcomes of a rapid evidence review to document and understand the impact of COVID-19 (in terms of both health and the broader impacts on existing social and economic inequalities) on those with protected characteristics as well as those living in poorer, or more precarious, socioeconomic circumstances, paying particular attention to its effect in London. It highlights the disproportionate effect of Covid-19 in relation to disability, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic position, age and other factors, including homelessness and being in prison. This is both in terms of risk of COVID-19 infection, complications and mortality, and in terms of the negative economic, social and psychological consequences of Government policies to mitigate the health impacts of the pandemic. The research analysed existing data from local and national sources to assess the impact of the pandemic on people with characteristics protected by law. It reveals that, across the country: Black people are at almost twice the risk of death from Covid-19 than White people; men are disproportionately more likely to die from Covid-19, but women have experienced disproportionate economic, social and psychological impacts; death rates are three times higher for men in lower-paid, manual roles, such as construction and personal care, than in those in management, business and desk-based jobs; the pandemic has negatively impacted disabled Londoners who reported increased difficulties performing practical tasks such as shopping for groceries, as well as accessing up-to-date health information about the virus; almost four in five LGBTQ+ people said that their mental health had been negatively impacted by the coronavirus lockdown. The report also found that voluntary and community sector organisations play a crucial role in reaching those disproportionately impacted and marginalised groups, including disabled people.

Last updated on hub: 08 October 2020

LESS COVID-19: Learning by Experience and Supporting the Care Home Sector during the COVID-19 pandemic: key lessons learnt, so far, by frontline care home and NHS staff

National Care Forum

This report sets out findings of a research study to capture the experiences of frontline care home and NHS staff caring for older people with COVID-19 and to share the lessons learnt about the presentation, trajectories, and management of the infection with care homes that have and have not yet experienced the virus. The research comprised two phases: interviews with frontline care home and NHS staff in June and July (n=35); and consultation with senior operational and quality managers in care homes in September (n=11). The findings are presented under the following themes: clinical presentation – COVID-19 does not always present as a cough and fever in older people; unpredictable illness trajectory; managing symptoms and providing supportive care; recovery and rehabilitation – promoting physical, cognitive and emotional well-being post-virus; end of life care; infection prevention and control; and promoting partnership through cross sector working and support. The research highlights the value of ongoing reflective learning and the importance of sharing collective expertise in care and in practice. However, it also reveals systemic issues associated with underfunding, limited integration across health and social care and a lack of wider recognition and value of the contribution of the care home sector and (importantly) its staff. The report concludes with a call to action, stressing the importance of sharing collective expertise, expanding the use of digital technology, and formally recognising and supporting care home staff. It also calls on the Government to ensure policy making, guidance, effective resourcing (including PPE), and plans for action are created in equal partnership with the care sector; to invest in the care sector to enable better reward and recognition of the care workforce; and to improve the testing capacity for social care to cover all care settings, including day services.

Last updated on hub: 08 October 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): information for families looking after someone with dementia

Dementia UK

Brings together advice and guidance for carers of people with dementia during the Covid-19 pandemic. Topics covered include: the ongoing challenges for people with dementia during coronavirus; questions and answers relating to the implications of coronavirus in specific settings; advice for people with dementia around face coverings; and care homes and the coronavirus outbreak.

Last updated on hub: 08 October 2020

Recommendations for safe visiting in care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic

Dementia UK

This flowchart describes the steps residential care providers need to take to ensure safe visiting during the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 08 October 2020

All Wales COVID-19 workforce risk assessment tool

Welsh Government

This risk assessment tool has been developed to help people working in the NHS and Social Care in Wales to see if they are at higher risk of developing more serious symptoms if they come into contact with the COVID-19 virus. It is aimed at everyone working or volunteering in health and social care in Wales. The tool asks a number of questions designed to identify whether employees/volunteers are at a higher risk from COVID-19. It asks some questions about age, health, weight and ethnicity which may increase your risk of serious illness following an infection with COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 08 October 2020

A catalyst for change: what COVID-19 has taught us about the future of local government

Nesta

This paper draws together insights from the experiences of local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland during the first six months of the COVID-19 crisis, providing an overview of their response, and of the changes needed to meet the demands of the pandemic. It discusses the upcoming challenges that could hamper the efforts of councils to embed and build upon these positive changes and set a positive vision for the future of local government in the aftermath of this crisis. This vision illustrates what local government could look like in ten years if it is able to preserve and build upon the progress made during the pandemic. The paper identifies several trends that are of particular significance to local government over the coming years: remote working will be retained by a large proportion of staff, including frontline staff; digital tools will enable a large proportion of council-run services to be delivered remotely; increased and enhanced public participation and engagement will lead to improved decision-making and better outcomes for communities; sharing power with local communities across design, delivery and ownership of services and assets will enhance their quality and produce wider benefits to communities in the form of empowerment, resilience and cohesion; greater and new types of collaboration between councils, statutory partners, the third and private sectors and communities will achieve better outcomes for their people and places; and greater devolution from central government will provide local areas with longer-term funding commitments and greater flexibility to design policy for their local context. This guide is part of the New Operating Models Handbook, a set of learning products which explore the new operating models emerging in local government, supporting innovation and asset-based practice.

Last updated on hub: 07 October 2020

‘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