COVID-19 resources on infection control

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Stories of shielding: life in the pandemic for those with health and care needs

National Voices

Brings together the voices and stories of people with long-term health conditions during COVID-19. The report is based on the submissions to the digital platform Our COVID Voices, which was created for people with health and care needs to share their experiences. The platform received 70 unfiltered views and stories from people at great risk of all the effects of the pandemic, including anxiety, uncertainty and changes to their care. But it goes much deeper, into their relationships, their jobs and dealing with the everyday aspects of life in the pandemic. This document collates quotes from these stories to provide an overview of the real-life experiences of individuals shielding.

Last updated on hub: 15 October 2020

Disability inclusive Covid-19 response

House of Commons Library

This briefing offers an overview of key aspects relating to efforts to include people with disabilities in the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Focusing on England, it provides information on the Equality Act 2010, the wearing of face coverings, access to education and health services, employment support and social care during the coronavirus outbreak.

Last updated on hub: 15 October 2020

The experience of older people instructed to shield or self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic

English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

19 pandemic A vital weapon in the fight against COVID-19 has been the shielding of clinically extremely vulnerable individuals at high risk, and instructions to clinically vulnerable people at moderate risk to stay at home and avoid face-to-face contact as far as possible. The consequences of this advice for mental health and well-being are not well understood. The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing COVID-19 Substudy provided an opportunity to evaluate impact on mental health, quality of life, social connectedness, worries, and health-related behaviour in more than 5,800 older men and women (mean age 70 years). We found that although most individuals instructed by the NHS or their GPs to isolate and avoid face-to-face contact stayed at home as far as possible (defined as high risk), only 60% were strictly isolating. The high risk participants experienced higher levels of depression, anxiety, and loneliness, and reduced quality of life compared with others, and this was particularly marked among those who were isolating. Poor mental health was not related to reductions in social contacts, but there were higher levels of worry about obtaining food and other essentials. Physical activity was reduced and sleep impaired among high risk participants. The advice to people at risk may have saved lives and reduced infection, but it has come at a cost. If future outbreaks of COVID-19 require the reintroduction of shielding and avoidance of face-to-face contact, efforts should be made to allay concerns and encourage health promoting behaviour so as to avoid further impairment of the quality of life and mental health.

Last updated on hub: 15 October 2020

The experience of older people with multimorbidity during the COVID-19 pandemic

English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

The risk of severe COVID-19 disease is known to be higher in older individuals with multiple long-term health conditions (multimorbidity). In this briefing, we report the latest findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing COVID-19 Substudy on the experiences of older people with multimorbidity during the pandemic. Not all people with multimorbidity would be classified as clinically vulnerable. We found that 35% of older individuals with multimorbidity were instructed by the NHS or their GP to shield (staying at home at all times and avoiding any face-to-face contact) on account of their vulnerability, and the majority were largely compliant with this advice. Relative to study members without multimorbidity, respondents with multimorbidity were more likely to report poor sleep quality, eating less, and being worried about not having enough food and other essentials. Unhealthy behaviours (sitting time, physical inactivity etc), poor mental health, and loneliness deteriorated considerably during the lockdown and in the two months following the lockdown. Access to medications among people with multimorbidity was not a problem, however, a fifth of individuals with multimorbidity did not have access to community health, social care services and support from other health professionals (e.g., dentist, podiatrist). When considering policies which advise people to shield or self-isolate because of their COVID-19 risk, it is important for policymakers to acknowledge that older people with multiple long-term health conditions are at higher risk of experiencing greater mental distress and worry, of engaging in unhealthy behaviours and are less likely to access health services when needed; all these factors together could potentially influence disease progression.

Last updated on hub: 15 October 2020

Comparative optimism about infection and recovery from COVID‐19; Implications for adherence with lockdown advice

Health Expectations

Background: Comparative optimism, the belief that negative events are more likely to happen to others rather than to oneself, is well established in health risk research. It is unknown, however, whether comparative optimism also permeates people’s health expectations and potentially behaviour during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Objectives: Data were collected through an international survey (N = 6485) exploring people’s thoughts and psychosocial behaviours relating to COVID‐19. This paper reports UK data on comparative optimism. In particular, we examine the belief that negative events surrounding risk and recovery from COVID‐19 are perceived as more likely to happen to others rather than to oneself. Methods: Using online snowball sampling through social media, anonymous UK survey data were collected from N = 645 adults during weeks 5‐8 of the UK COVID‐19 lockdown. The sample was normally distributed in terms of age and reflected the UK ethnic and disability profile. Findings: Respondents demonstrated comparative optimism where they believed that as compared to others of the same age and gender, they were unlikely to experience a range of controllable (eg accidentally infect/ be infected) and uncontrollable (eg need hospitalization/ intensive care treatment if infected) COVID‐19‐related risks in the short term (P < .001). They were comparatively pessimistic (ie thinking they were more at risk than others for developing COVID‐19‐related infection or symptoms) when thinking about the next year. Discussion: This is the first ever study to report compelling comparative biases in UK adults’ thinking about COVID‐19 We discuss ways in which such thinking may influence adherence with lockdown regimes as these are being relaxed in the UK.

Last updated on hub: 15 October 2020

A telling experience: understanding the impact of Covid-19 on people who access care and support: a rapid evidence review with recommendations

Think Local Act Personal

A review of the evidence exploring the impact of the Care Act Easements (CAE) and/or Covid-19 on the lives of people who accessed care and support, and unpaid carers. The evidence reviewed pointed to the general confusion and anxiety of the early pandemic upon the general public and specifically upon those who accessed care and support, focusing on: loneliness and isolation; financial pressures; practical issues around food shopping; increase in health anxiety; and changes to the streetscape. The research also revealed more specific findings related to those who accessed care and support and their unpaid or family carers, including: an overarching challenge around communications; concerns around Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); cancellations of respite and day services; and some examples of changes to care packages. The review also identifies areas of good practice and learning which might be drawn upon to help build a legacy for future care and support, including: support to shape future communications and advice around a potential second Covid-19 wave; building on aspects of flexible and agile working, particularly in terms of digital models of provision; supported living and extra care providers such as Shared Lives; potential of personalisation reaffirmed as the cornerstone of future delivery; pockets of good practice around co-production to build upon for future learning; innovation and good practice in commissioning to build a new a vision for mental health support and more widely across health and social care; potential of the informal networks of Mutual Aid groups and neighbourhood support and of national networks to share information, good practice and learning at a sector leadership level.

Last updated on hub: 13 October 2020

Research briefing three: digital social work – the emergence of hybrid practice during the COVID-19 pandemic

University of Birmingham

This briefing examines emerging findings showing where and how digital social work practices have played a useful role in child protection work during the COVID-19 pandemic. It explores challenges encountered in the use of digital technologies and highlights circumstances in which newly emerging hybrid digital-physical practices help keep children safe or offer additional benefits for social workers and the families they support. Topics covered include: transitioning to the digital; video calls disrupting social workers’ expectations of themselves and their practice; learning to work digitally; video calls as face-to-face visits; video calls as a way to build relationships; hybrid digital-physical social work and possible hybrid practice futures; and digital inequalities. The study shows that digital social work and the hybrid practices it generates can provide a number of benefits. This might usefully be taken forward as part of an expanded set of techniques for support, communication and evaluation in social work, whereby their use is tailored to families on a case-specific basis. Yet these options need to be considered in the context of the ever deepening social and economic inequalities that characterise the UK at the moment, to ensure that they are designed in such a way that is equitable, fair and inclusive.

Last updated on hub: 12 October 2020

Coronavirus: adult social care key issues and sources

House of Commons Library

An overview of key issues facing the adult social care sector during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, including links to some of the key official guidance for the sector. Section one of this briefing provides a high-level overview of policy in relation to adult social care since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, including the development of key UK Government guidance. The second section provides more detailed information on some key issues that have been raised during the course of the outbreak, including: statistics on deaths in care homes; funding for adult social care, including the financial pressures on social care providers; testing for care home staff and residents; the discharging of patients from hospital into care homes; rules relating to visiting care homes for friends and family of residents; and the supply of PPE to the adult social care sector.

Last updated on hub: 12 October 2020

Adult social care coronavirus winter plan 2020-21: briefing and gap analysis for councils

Local Government Association

This briefing summarises the key messages in the Adult Social Care Winter Plan, highlighting the role local authorities must play in the delivery of the plan. It includes a summary of the key actions for local authorities within the plan, in a format which enables them to verify that actions are in place, ready for the assurance that has to be submitted to the Department of Health and Social Care on 31 October. The actions are grouped into four themes: preventing and controlling the spread of infection in care settings; collaboration across health and care services; supporting people who receive social care, the workforce, and carers; and supporting the system.

Last updated on hub: 12 October 2020

What is the risk of transmission of COVID-19 when delivering domiciliary care, and how effective are interventions that aim to minimise that risk?: a rapid review

Public Health England

A review of the evidence related to the transmission of COVID-19 in domiciliary care. No studies were found describing the risk of transmission when delivering domiciliary care (either from the care worker to care receiver or vice versa). Furthermore, no studies were found describing the effectiveness of interventions that aim to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when delivering domiciliary care. Professional opinions on how to safely deliver domiciliary care were identified in the literature; these support the application of general infection prevention and control practices, the use of risk assessments, ensuring staff are appropriately trained and employing an ‘only when necessary’ approach to face-to-face contact.

Last updated on hub: 12 October 2020

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