COVID-19 resources

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COVID-19 and the female health and care workforce: survey of health and care staff for the Health and Care Women Leaders Network, August 2020

NHS Confederation

This report sets out the findings of a survey to understand the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on women working across health and care services. A total of 1,308 women responded to the survey. While the overwhelming majority of respondents to the survey were white, there were some key differences in the findings in relation to participants from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds. The survey found that most respondents – almost three-quarters – had reported that their job had a greater negative impact than usual on their emotional wellbeing as a result of the pandemic, and more than half had suffered a negative impact on their physical health. Staff from BME backgrounds also reported feeling traumatised by the disproportionate impact of the virus, compounded by concerns over risk assessments not being performed in a timely manner, if at all. In addition, the analysis shows that PPE availability and training have been broadly adequate, but could be stronger; managerial support has been strong, but some issues emerge over sharing concerns; struggles with work-life balance since lockdown started; some respondents had safety concerns when working from home. The report also draws out some of the positive experiences, such as opportunities for learning and the strength of support many have received from their managers. Recommendations to improve the working conditions for women in health and care services are included.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

Overview of adult social care guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Department of Health and Social Care

Brings together information for adult social care providers on COVID-19 guidance and support. The resource covers help with infection prevention and control; what to do when you suspect an outbreak; reporting an outbreak; caring for patients discharged from hospital or another social care facility; visits to care homes and other care settings; information for providers of care in supported living and domiciliary settings; how to get social care workers and people in care homes tested; managing care workers during COVID-19; securing PPE and related supplies; help for holders of direct payments, commissioners and care providers; information for social care providers on mental health and wellbeing and financial support; Capacity Tracker and guidance on using it; information for unpaid carers; easements of the Care Act; COVID-19 ethical framework for adult social care; caring for people who are protected by safeguards under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, including the deprivation of liberty safeguards; steps to take following a coronavirus-related death of a person who worked in adult social care. [First published 25 August 2020; Last updated 22 January 2021]

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

How has Covid-19 and associated lockdown measures affected loneliness in the UK?

What Works Centre for Wellbeing

This briefing highlights findings from the Covid Social Study, a research project run by University College London, exploring the effects of the virus and social distancing measures on adults in the UK during the outbreak of COVID-19. Data collected by the study from over 70,000 people has shown how loneliness has been affected between March and July 2020. It provides insights into how many people have been lonely during this uncertain time and what the risk factors are that policy makers and practitioners should recognise in their efforts to alleviate loneliness. The initial analysis of the data shows that people who felt most lonely prior to pandemic now have even higher levels of loneliness. This increase began as physical distancing and lockdown measures were introduced in the UK, in March 2020. Adults most at risk of being lonely, and increasingly so over this period, have one or more of the following characteristics: they are young, living alone, on low incomes, out of work and, or with a mental health condition. The impact on wellbeing from people at risk of loneliness is likely to be compounded by other economic and social impacts experienced by the same people, such as those experiencing job losses and health anxieties.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

Covid-19 and the nation’s mental health: forecasting needs and risks in the UK: July 2020

Centre for Mental Health

This briefing draws on international evidence to provide an assessment of the economic impacts of Covid-19 and their implications for public mental health. It also reviews evidence relating to the criminal justice system and to young adults and the potential longer-term psychological impacts of rising youth unemployment. Research has identified specific groups of people facing higher risks to their mental health at this time, including the families of people treated in intensive care, people with existing mental or physical health conditions, and pregnant women. There is also evidence that people with existing mental health difficulties have been experiencing a worsening of their mental health during the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic on children and young people’s mental health is greater in areas and communities hardest hit by the virus and by lockdowns. Children from low income families, from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and young carers are all more likely to experience poor mental health as a result of the pandemic. Children’s mental health has been affected by disruptions to their education, compounded by reduced access to support for their mental health. The paper makes a number of recommendations for action to protect the nation’s mental health, including: targeting mental health resources where they are most needed; proactively protecting the mental health of children and young people; facilitating a psychologically informed return to school; providing additional mental health support for groups facing further risks; improving safety in the criminal justice system; and supporting young people seeking employment.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

How has COVID-19 changed the landscape of digital inclusion?

Centre for Ageing Better

This briefing looks at how COVID-19 has impacted older people's internet use and sets out recommendations to help ensure fewer people are digitally excluded. The paper identifies multiple and complex barriers that individuals in later life face in getting online, including self-efficacy or lack of confidence; awareness of benefits; awareness of risks; employment history; perception of cognitive ability; influence of family; perceived value and relevance; and access and affordability of equipment. The paper suggests that there are some consistent principles of good practice that can be applied to the support offered to older people. They include: flexibility and relevance – helping people to do the things they need and want to do online; the right pace; repetition and reflection; the right language, avoiding jargon and focusing on the task, not the tech; a strong teacher-student relationship; time to build relationships; ongoing, open-ended support, allowing learners to return with questions and problems; and co-design, involving a wide range of users in the shaping and design of all services, new and existing, to ensure their relevance and effectiveness.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

Community health and care discharge and crisis care model: an investment in reablement

Local Government Association

This paper sets out the view of the Local Government Association (LGA) and Association of Directors of Adult Social Care (ADASS) that the ‘discharge to support recovery and then assess’ approach is a key component of a person-centred community health and care model. The experience of responding to COVID19 has demonstrated the importance of this care being centred on the individual, providing safe, proactive care that maximises independence and wellbeing. The paper argues that people have the best outcomes when they are helped to avoid having to go to hospital or return home from hospital safely and without delay, with support targeted on their needs. Once settled back into their homes, and after a period of reablement or rehabilitation if needed, only then should they have a care and health assessment for any ongoing needs. However, the paper suggests that but there are not enough community-based services to support people at home – the 2020 ADASS Budget Survey highlights that only 4 per cent of directors of adult social services are confident their budgets will enable them to meet statutory duties. The Covid-19 crisis has confirmed the need to reshape health and care, embedding positive developments and preventing a return of fragmented and untimely care and support, especially on discharge from hospital. This will require government and national partners to support local place-based leadership, to continue to shift resources towards community-based services, and to support the recruitment, retention and retraining of the workforce.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

The future of commissioning for social care

Social Care Institute for Excellence

SCIE's latest commissioning guide that focuses on the immediate future of commissioning in light of COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 26 August 2020

How Covid-19 has magnified some of social care’s key problems

King's Fund

Examines eight key problems facing social care and the extent to which Covid-19 has exacerbated these challenges. These include: means testing – social care is not free at point of use like the NHS; catastrophic costs – some people end up paying large amounts and even selling their homes to pay for care; unmet need – many people go without the care and support they need; quality of care – a wide spectrum of concerns, from 15-minute care visits to neglect and lack of choice and control; workforce pay and conditions – staff are underpaid, leading to high vacancy rates and turnover; market fragility – care providers go out of business or hand back contracts; disjointed care – health and care is not integrated around the individual and causes issues such as delayed transfers of care from hospital; the ‘postcode lottery’ – there is unwarranted variation between places in access to care and its quality. This piece discusses how the emphasis on them has shifted as a result of the pandemic – while the first two issues have barely been mentioned during the past few months, in the remaining six areas, Covid-19 has brought significant change and, if anything, exacerbated these challenges.

Last updated on hub: 26 August 2020

What enables or hinders people in the community to make or update advance care plans in the context of Covid-19, and how can those working in health and social care best support this process?

Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine

An evidence review of the enablers and barriers to advance care planning (ACP) in the context of Covid-19 and best support approaches. The review identified 21 research studies and 10 systematic reviews that met the inclusion criteria and were classed as highly relevant. In addition, it identified 12 guidelines related to ACP in the UK during COVID-19. The analysis shows that in the context of COVID-19 some known barriers to ACP in community settings have worsened, while others have improved. COVID-19 has raised public awareness of ACP, increased the importance of and attention to IT systems, motivated the development of new guidelines and templates, and rapidly shifted ‘business as usual’ processes and protocols. This presents opportunities to improve ACP in the community. However, existing guidelines and resources are to a major extent clinician-focused; there are few video- and web-based ACP resources for the public and those that exist are scattered and piecemeal. This is a concern given good quality evidence that online and video ACP interventions are beneficial, particularly among people with limited English proficiency, poor health literacy and/or from otherwise disadvantaged communities. In the context of COVID-19, and to reduce inequalities in access to ACP, the report recommends national investment in evidence-based, public-facing resources and integrated systems to support ACP, building on existing resources. Alongside this investment, simultaneous, interconnected strategies are needed, underpinned by healthcare policy, including training for those working in health and social care, better coordination of electronic medical record systems, and public education and awareness raising.

Last updated on hub: 25 August 2020

A structured tool for communication and care planning in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

Residents in long-term care settings are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 infections and, compared to younger adults, are at higher risk of poor outcomes and death. Given the poor prognosis of resuscitation outcomes for COVID-19 in general, the specter of COVID-19 in long-term care residents should prompt revisiting goals of care. Visitor restriction policies enacted to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to long-term care residents requires advance care planning discussions to be conducted remotely. A structured approach can help guide discussions regarding the diagnosis, expected course, and care of individuals with COVID-19 in long-term care settings. Information should be shared in a transparent and comprehensive manner to allay the increased anxiety that families may feel during this time. To achieve this, this paper proposes an evidence-based COVID-19 Communication and Care Planning Tool that allows for an informed consent process and shared decision making between the clinician, resident, and their family.

Last updated on hub: 24 August 2020