COVID-19 resources on infection control

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Policy briefing: the COVID-19 vaccination and unpaid carers (England only)

Carers UK

Unpaid carers are included in the priority lists for the COVID-19 vaccine in the same way that they are for the flu jab. This briefing sets out the position in more detail and explores recommendations for deployment of the vaccine to unpaid carers in detail.

Last updated on hub: 13 January 2021

Rapid response guidance note: vaccination and mental capacity (first update)

39 Essex Chambers

A general discussion examining to the legal position in relation to testing for COVID-19, especially as testing (a) starts to be more generally available; and (b) is increasingly been rolled out as mandatory in certain settings. It primarily relates to the position in England in relation to those aged 18 and above; specific advice should be sought in respect of Wales and those under 18.

Last updated on hub: 12 January 2021

The UK response to Covid-19: use of scientific advice: first report of session 2019–21

House of Commons

An analysis of the way the Government has received, and applied, scientific evidence and advice during the first period of the coronavirus pandemic up to autumn 2020. The report distils the evidence from scientists and policy makers given at a number of oral evidence sessions contemporaneous with rapidly evolving policy decisions, and from written submissions from leading experts. It considers the nature and function of official scientific advisory structures; the transparency of scientific advice; and the use of data in informing the UK's Covid-19 response. The principal conclusions and recommendations of the report are: the Government has been serious about taking scientific advice; the length of the pandemic has placed exceptional demands on the people contributing their expertise and on the structures, which were designed for shorter term emergencies; in the early stages of the pandemic a more explicit evaluation by public health authorities of the operational practices in other countries – such as test, trace and isolate measures in certain Asian countries – should have been made; although the scientific analysis that informs government decisions is now much more transparent, the evaluation of other factors that the government takes into account to determine policy – such as impacts on livelihoods and educational progress – is markedly less visible; it has been important and reassuring for the public to see and hear directly from senior scientists and that should continue; fragmentation of data across different public bodies needs to be resolved to allow the most effective response to the pandemic; The role of scientific advice in shaping the choice of operational targets has not always been clear.

Last updated on hub: 11 January 2021

Staff movement: a risk management framework: briefing for adult care home providers

Care Provider Alliance

This briefing outlines a risk management approach that care homes can use to manage restrictions on staff movements. The briefing relates to CQC registered care homes with or without nursing in England. The Government is introducing legislation that will require care home providers to restrict all but essential movement of staff between settings in order to reduce transmission of COVID-19 – with a particular focus on care home staff. At the same time, care homes are facing staff shortages due to sickness and the ongoing high vacancy rates. A risk management framework can enable care homes to have a discussion with other agencies, such as their regulator or commissioner, about care home staff movement. This framework can assist services to manage the situation and provide operational tools that – over time – can drive down the number of staff movements and hence reduce the transmission of the virus. Many providers have already been pursuing such actions without an overall structure to work within. The briefing highlights the key factors which will affect staff movement over the coming months and which need to be considered within the risk management framework; actions for initial assessment; and how care homes should work with notifiable agencies, including the Care Quality Commission, local authorities and CCG commissioners, to agree contingency arrangements in advance of situations arising.

Last updated on hub: 11 January 2021

International “living” report: long-term care and COVID-19 vaccination, prioritization and data

International Long-term Care Policy Network

This report aims to provide an overview of progress in the delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations to people who use and provide long-term care. It is a “living report” that will be updated regularly. The report shows data for populations that either use and provide long-term care or are likely to do so. Initial review of prioritization documents shows that care home residents and personnel are consistently listed among the group with the highest priority. Care partners and family members of residents and unpaid carers of people living in the community are not explicitly mentioned. There are few mentions of people living with dementia or people with learning disabilities.

Last updated on hub: 11 January 2021

Evidence summary for lateral flow devices (LFD) in relation to care homes

Department of Health and Social Care

A summary of published research papers on lateral flow device (LFD) efficacy and preliminary findings from the evaluation of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) care home visitor testing pilot November 2020. The summary follows the release of visitor testing guidance that supports friends and relatives to visit care home residents and provides clarity on the available evidence to support safe visiting as part of our overall approach to promote the health and wellbeing of care home residents. Friends and relatives tested immediately before their visit can demonstrate they are likely to be free of risk of transmitting COVID-19 by having an LFD negative result. Testing must be done directly before the visit takes place and must be undertaken in combination with other infection prevention and control measures.

Last updated on hub: 11 January 2021

Informal dementia carers had to make difficult decisions about paid care during COVID-19

National Institute for Health Research

Explores how the first nationwide COVID-19 lockdown affected unpaid carers, and how they made decisions about accessing paid care. This research brings to the fore longstanding problems with care for people living with dementia. These issues include a lack of continuity of paid care, poor monitoring of care staff entering homes, and minimal support for unpaid carers. The research team interviewed 15 unpaid carers by telephone between April and May 2020. All carers had been accessing or trying to access paid home care before the pandemic. All were adult family or friends of someone with dementia. The researchers drew three themes from the interviews: carers felt concerned by the risk of paid carers bringing coronavirus into the home – lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and feeling unprepared to provide additional care heightened these fears; carers had difficult choices to make – many avoided hospitals and other health providers and struggled to weigh up the options of cancelling or continuing paid care and some described real fears of re-obtaining paid care post-COVID if they cancelled during lockdown; and implications for unpaid carers included increased workload and difficulty in accessing food deliveries.

Last updated on hub: 11 January 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19): organised activities for children

Scottish Government

Guidance for the safe running of organised activities for children and young people. These include organised unregulated activities and services provided indoors and outdoors for children and young people, including babies and toddlers, that are voluntary, third sector, parent or peer led or unregulated providers delivering a service or activity directly to children under 18.

Last updated on hub: 05 January 2021

Perspectives from the front line: the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on BME communities

NHS Confederation

This report distils the findings of a research study into the underlying factors affecting the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on black and minority ethnic (BME) communities. It is based on interviews with BME NHS leaders, clinicians, community organisations and service users, and a survey of over 100 members of the NHS Confederation’s BME Leadership Network. Topics covered include: inequalities and health; institutional racism; racial discrimination on the front line; communication; and the Black Lives Matter movement. Overwhelmingly, participants point to long-standing inequalities and institutional racism as root causes. Interviewees were united in the view that despite the wealth of data collected by the national bodies and numerous reviews on the relationship between health, inequalities and BME communities, the NHS and government had not taken sufficient action to address the underlying issues. To redress this, it will be crucial to treat long-term structural health inequities and institutional racism as critical factors when planning services and emergency responses. To break down barriers to accessing healthcare, the government should take immediate steps to review the potential for hostile environment policies to be a vehicle for promoting institutional racism. BME health and care professionals were reported to be more likely to take on high-risk roles, including working on COVID-19 wards, due to fear that contracts may not be renewed or shifts reduced – this was compounded by a bullying culture which meant that BME employees were less likely to raise concerns or share their experiences. The report argues that the health service should look to adopt a new model of leadership that welcomes and values innovators with roots in BME communities and a track record of anti-racism. Integrated care systems should lead the development of governance and human resources functions that facilitate diverse leadership in line with commitments in the NHS People Plan.

Last updated on hub: 04 January 2021

Social work assessments for people with advanced dementia in “the new normal”

Working with Older People

Purpose: Social work involves working directly with people who are experiencing a crisis. An assessment is carried out to establish the best way forward and then reviewed after a period of time to measure success or recalibrate the service. The current pandemic restrictions have all but ruled out meeting with people face-to-face. Now, professionals are usually required to don some form of personal protective equipment (PPE) when meeting with people and their families. Talking to an unknown professional who is behind a mask or on the telephone, about a personal issue is hard for everyone, but it is particularly difficult for people who may be further on in their dementia journey. Design/methodology/approach: Critique. Findings: These impediments impact the social work assessment and review, meaning people may not have the quality of service they need and may end up paying for unnecessary provision. If admission to a care home is deemed necessary, the stakes rise considerably. A care home admission means contributing towards fees with pensions, savings and assets, including housing. Now, it comes with an additional health risk. Originality/value: COVID-19 infection has impacted on the older population but residents in care homes with frailer physical health, cognitive impairment and delirium are at particularly high risk of dying.

Last updated on hub: 29 December 2020

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