COVID-19 resources on infection control

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How Coronavirus has affected people with learning disabilities and autistic people: easy read

Department of Health and Social Care

This report comes from the Social Care Taskforce National Advisory Group: People with Learning Disabilities and Autistic People. The group gives the Government advice about services for people with learning disabilities or autistic people. The report explains how Coronavirus is affecting people with learning disabilities and autistic people; and what the Government should do to keep people safe. This includes new ways of working; accessible information; continuing to support people; helping lonely people and those who are often are left out.

Last updated on hub: 19 October 2020

How fit were public services for coronavirus?

Institute for Government

This report sets out an assessment of how prepared and resilient public services, such as the NHS, social care, schools and the police, were for the Covid-19 pandemic. Findings are based on desk research, analysis of government data and interviews with civil servants, front-line staff, representative bodies and other experts. While all services benefited from the existence of emergency plans and command structures, these varied greatly in detail, focus and adaptability. The findings show that: Government plans were too focused on a flu pandemic, with not enough attention paid to the possibility of other types of pandemic; good planning ensured that hospitals could respond well to the first wave, but high staff vacancies and a maintenance backlog will make it far harder to restart routine services; adult social care services struggled because of poor quality national plans, weak communication between Whitehall and local government, and the large number of care homes; underinvestment in buildings and ICT meant the criminal justice system, particularly in criminal courts and prisons, struggled; however, planning for a no-deal Brexit in 2019 meant the Department of Health and Social Care had a greater understanding of how supply chains would be disrupted in a pandemic. The report makes a series of recommendations, including ensuring more regular pandemic planning exercises are conducted, with key ministers such as the prime minister and health secretary taking part within six months of taking office; ensuring providers of public services publish their plans for dealing with emergencies and report annually on progress; and ensuring Government spending decisions are based on the analysis of the resilience of public services.

Last updated on hub: 10 August 2020

How has Covid-19 impacted on care and support at home in Scotland?

Scottish Parliament

Findings from a survey to understand the impact of Covid-19 on care at home services, and what issues the pandemic has highlighted, improved, or made worse. The survey ran from 10 August 2020 to 7 September 2020 and the Committee received over 700 responses, including 415 responses from family members of those receiving care at home and unpaid carers and 93 responses from individuals receiving care at home. Key findings include: there was a reduction of care as a result of the pandemic; care at home staff do not receive the same support or recognition as NHS staff; concern regarding safety mainly related to access to and appropriate use of PPE as well as testing and training of care staff; ensuring continuity of care was the second most important issue to respondents, with concerns around quality and consistency of care as well as the need for designated carers to reduce the number of staff entering homes; the reduction of visits, activities and respite services, and resulting loss of a routine, increased feelings of loneliness and isolation for those in receipt of care and of anxiety, depression and mental exhaustion for unpaid carers; despite a reduction in care being delivered, staff saw increased workloads, with new tasks required as a result of the pandemic such as additional staff training, increased staff meetings and increased paperwork; access to additional support and services (food and prescription deliveries, access to activities and entertainment) and access to hospital, GP services and medical equipment was critically important to respondents; it was felt that one to one communication between services and service users needed to improve. Finally, it was suggested that more needs to be done to listen to the needs of those receiving care and involve them in decision making.

Last updated on hub: 26 November 2020

How will Brexit affect the UK’s response to coronavirus?

The Nuffield Trust

This briefing looks at how leaving the single market might affect UK health and social care services in the short term as they try to deal with coronavirus while maintaining normal services. It will also look at what difference a deal might make, and the options that the UK and the EU have. The paper makes the following key points: leaving the single market will create new and wide-ranging problems for the majority of NHS medicines and medical devices which come from or via the EU – the coronavirus wave and Brexit stockpiling both created spikes in imported supplies, and filling both requirements at once may be very difficult; export blocks on medically vital supplies by the EU were used during the first wave of coronavirus and could cover the UK after 31 December; the UK will no longer have access to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which collects and shares intelligence on pandemics and other infectious disease outbreaks; based on negotiating documents, draft treaties, and briefing to date, the majority of the crucial issues for health which could have been secured in an agreement are not agreed upon by the two sides, or the outcome is uncertain – these should be given a higher priority in the context of the ongoing pandemic; several important areas for responding to coronavirus depend on cooperative practices and favourable decisions across the EU and UK, beyond simply the presence or absence of a deal; poor funding for public health and social care contributed to limitations in the UK’s capacity to address coronavirus during the first wave – leaving the single market will mean slower growth, making addressing these more difficult though the case to do so remains very strong.

Last updated on hub: 19 October 2020

Impact and mortality of COVID-19 on people living with dementia: cross-country report

International Long-term Care Policy Network

This report brings together international evidence on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people living with dementia and an overview of international policy and practice measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 among people living with dementia. It draws on data from nine countries: United Kingdom (UK), Spain, Ireland, Italy, Australia, the United States (US), India, Kenya and Brazil. The analysis indicates that the share of people whose deaths were linked to COVID-19 in care homes who had dementia ranges from 29% to 75% across those countries. Within countries, people with dementia account for 25% of all COVID-19 related deaths in England and Wales, 31% in Scotland and 19% in Italy. In many places, the basic human rights of people with dementia may have been compromised during the pandemic. These rights include access to Intensive Care Units, hospital admissions, health care and palliative care. The controversial ban on visits (including spouses and care partners) to care homes across the world, have kept people with dementia detached from essential affective bonds and provision of family care for many months. The report argues that guidance and tools to support institutions and practitioners to respond better to the needs of people with dementia during the pandemic are needed as a matter of urgency. Confinement, isolation and many of the challenges brought about by the pandemic are detrimental to the cognitive and mental health symptoms in people with dementia across the world, both those living in the community and care homes. This report offers a list of short-term and long-term actions needed to ensure that people with dementia are not being left behind in this pandemic or future ones.

Last updated on hub: 28 September 2020

Impact of coronavirus in care homes in England: 26 May to 19 June 2020

The Office for National Statistics

Sets out the first results from the Vivaldi study, a large scale survey which looked at coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in 9,081 care homes providing care for dementia patients and the elderly in England. Across the care homes included in the study, 56% are estimated to have reported at least one confirmed case of coronavirus (staff or resident). Across these, an estimated 20% of residents and 7% of staff tested positive for COVID-19, as reported by care home managers, since the start of the pandemic. The emerging findings reveal some common factors in care homes with higher levels of infections amongst residents. These include prevalence of infection in staff, some care home practices such as more frequent use of bank or agency nurses or carers, and some regional differences (such as higher infection levels within care homes in London and the West Midlands). There is some evidence that in care homes where staff receive sick pay, there are lower levels of infection in residents. Findings also include some common factors in care homes with higher levels of infection amongst staff. These include prevalence of infection in residents (although this is weaker than the effect of staff infection on residents), some care home practices (such as more frequent use of bank or agency nurses or carers, and care homes employing staff who work across multiple sites) and some regional differences (such as higher infection levels within care homes in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber). However, regional differences may be affected by different patterns of testing in staff and residents over time.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on care and contact: experiences in the first COVID-19 lockdown on foster carers and young people in their care

Research In Practice: Dartington

This report summarises the findings from three questionnaires, which were designed to explore the impact of lockdown on young people in and leaving care. The three questionnaires were designed for: young people in care or with care experience; carers; and birth parents. Many young people and carers described how lockdown had given them more quality time to spend with families or those they live with; over 90% of those in foster care reported relationships at home had improved or stayed the same during lockdown. There were mixed views on virtual family time. While some felt it was a more flexible and convenient option which gave young people more control over the situation, the lack of physical contact was an issue for some, as was the additional responsibility this placed on foster carers to help manage family time. In respect of virtual contact with social workers / personal advisors, over 80% of young people and 90% of carers felt this was the same or better than their contact prior to lockdown, citing increased availability and convenience. However, some people felt there had been a reduction in the amount of contact, and this was particularly apparent for those who experienced a change of social worker over lockdown and did not have an opportunity to meet them. Experiences of home-schooling were also mixed, with some young people thriving due to the flexibility and one-to-one support from carers, and others struggling with the lack of routine and reduction in social contact. Carers also raised how the individualised attention supported some young people’s learning; however, some foster carers commented on the considerable responsibility and time commitments of home-schooling. The wellbeing of children and young people varied considerably over lockdown, with some enjoying the experience and increased free time, and others missing the structure of school and relationships with friends and family.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on care and contact: experiences in the first COVID-19 lockdown on foster carers and young people in their care: research summary

Research In Practice: Dartington

This report summarises the findings from three questionnaires, which were designed to explore the impact of lockdown on young people in and leaving care. The three questionnaires were designed for: young people in care or with care experience; carers; and birth parents. Many young people and carers described how lockdown had given them more quality time to spend with families or those they live with; over 90% of those in foster care reported relationships at home had improved or stayed the same during lockdown. There were mixed views on virtual family time. While some felt it was a more flexible and convenient option which gave young people more control over the situation, the lack of physical contact was an issue for some, as was the additional responsibility this placed on foster carers to help manage family time. In respect of virtual contact with social workers / personal advisors, over 80% of young people and 90% of carers felt this was the same or better than their contact prior to lockdown, citing increased availability and convenience. However, some people felt there had been a reduction in the amount of contact, and this was particularly apparent for those who experienced a change of social worker over lockdown and did not have an opportunity to meet them. Experiences of home-schooling were also mixed, with some young people thriving due to the flexibility and one-to-one support from carers, and others struggling with the lack of routine and reduction in social contact. Carers also raised how the individualised attention supported some young people’s learning; however, some foster carers commented on the considerable responsibility and time commitments of home-schooling. The wellbeing of children and young people varied considerably over lockdown, with some enjoying the experience and increased free time, and others missing the structure of school and relationships with friends and family.

Last updated on hub: 08 December 2020

Impact of infection outbreak on long-term care staff: a rapid review on psychological well-being

Journal of Long-Term Care

Context: Older people and people with an intellectual disability who receive long-term care are considered particularly vulnerable to infection outbreaks, such as the current Coronavirus Disease 2019. The combination of healthcare concerns and infection-related restrictions may result in specific challenges for long-term care staff serving these populations during infection outbreaks. Objectives: This review aimed to: (1) provide insight about the potential impact of infection outbreaks on the psychological state of healthcare staff and (2) explore suggestions to support and protect their psychological well-being. Method: Four databases were searched, resulting in 2,176 hits, which were systematically screened until six articles remained. Thematic analysis was used to structure and categorise the data. Findings: Studies about healthcare staff working in long-term care for people with intellectual disabilities were not identified. Psychological outcomes of healthcare staff serving older people covered three themes: emotional responses (i.e., fears and concerns, tension, stress, confusion, and no additional challenges), ethical dilemmas, and reflections on work attendance. Identified suggestions to support and protect care staff were related to education, provision of information, housing, materials, policy and guidelines. Limitations: Only six articles were included in the syntheses. Implications: Research into support for long-term care staff during an infection outbreak is scarce. Without conscious management, policy and research focus, the needs of this professional group may remain underexposed in current and future infection outbreaks. The content synthesis and reflection on it in this article provide starting points for new research and contribute to the preparation for future infection outbreaks.

Last updated on hub: 21 August 2020

Implementation of an algorithm of cohort classification to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

Older adults living in nursing homes are the most vulnerable group of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many difficulties in isolating residents and limiting the spread in this setting. These researchers have developed a simple algorithm with a traffic light shape for resident classification and sectorization within nursing homes, based on basic diagnostic tests, surveillance of symptoms onset and close contact monitoring. The researchers have implemented the algorithm in several centers with good data on adherence. Suggestions for implementation and evaluation are discussed.

Last updated on hub: 07 December 2020

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