COVID-19 resources on Infection control

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Adult social care and COVID-19 after the first wave: assessing the policy response in England

The Health Foundation

This briefing analyses policies to support adult social care during the height of the second wave of the pandemic in January and February 2021, and in the months leading up to it. It provides a narrative summary of central government policies related to adult social care in different areas, such as policies on testing and support for the workforce. It also offers a summary of the latest publicly available data on the impacts of COVID-19 on adult social care. In the final part, the paper makes an assessment of the policy response since June 2020, considers how policies changed over time, and identifies priorities for the future. Overall, we found a mixed picture. Support in some areas improved, such as access to testing and PPE, and the priority given to social care appeared to increase. Groups using and providing social care were prioritised for COVID-19 vaccines, alongside the NHS. This is likely to have offered much greater protection to care home residents and others. However, major challenges remained. Government policy on social care was often fragmented and short-term, creating uncertainty for the sector and making it harder to plan ahead. There have also been persistent gaps in the national policy response, including support for social care staff and people providing unpaid care. Major structural issues in social care have shaped the policy response and effects of COVID-19 on the sector, including chronic underfunding, workforce issues, system fragmentation, and more. COVID-19 also appears to have made some longstanding problems worse, such as unmet need for care and the burden on unpaid carers.

Last updated on hub: 01 June 2021

Adult social care and COVID-19: assessing the impact on social care users and staff in England so far

The Health Foundation

An overview of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social care in England, describing how the pandemic unfolded in the social care sector from March until June 2020, and examining the factors that contributed to the scale and severity of outbreaks in care homes. The briefing also attempts to quantify the disruption to health and social care access from February until the end of April 2020. The findings demonstrate that the pandemic has had a profound impact on people receiving and providing social care in England – since March, there have been more than 30,500 deaths among care home residents than it would be normally expected, and a further 4,500 excess deaths among people receiving care in their own homes (domiciliary care); and while deaths in care homes have now returned to average levels for this time of year, the latest data (up until 19 June) shows that there have continued to be excess deaths reported among domiciliary care users. Social care workers are among the occupational groups at highest risk of COVID-19 mortality, with care home workers and home carers accounting for the highest proportion (76%) of COVID-19 deaths within this group. The analysis also shows that there was a substantial reduction in hospital admissions among care home residents which may have helped reduce the risk of transmission but potentially increased unmet health needs. The briefing argues that long-standing structural issues have exacerbated the crisis in social care and hindered the response to the pandemic. It suggests that action is needed now to prevent further harm including by filling the gaps in data, particularly for those receiving domiciliary care, and by developing a new data strategy for social care.

Last updated on hub: 03 August 2020

Adult social care and COVID-19: assessing the policy response in England so far

The Health Foundation

An analysis of national government policies on adult social care in England related to COVID-19 between 31 January and 31 May 2020. This briefing considers the role that social care has played in the overall policy narrative and identifies the underlying factors within the social care system, such as its structure and funding, that have shaped its ability to respond. It suggests that overall, central government support for social care came too late – some initial policies targeted the social care sector in March but the government's COVID-19: adult social care action plan was not published until 15 April and another month passed before the government introduced a dedicated fund to support infection control in care homes. Protecting and strengthening social care services, and stuff, appears to have been given far lower priority by national policymakers than protecting the NHS and policy action on social care has been focused primarily on care homes and risks leaving out other vulnerable groups and services. The briefing calls on the Government to learn from the first phase of the COVID-19 response to prepare for potential future waves of the virus. Short-term actions should include greater involvement of social care in planning and decision making, improved access to regular testing and PPE, and a commitment to cover the costs of local government’s COVID-19 response. Critically, more fundamental reform of the social care system is needed to address the longstanding policy failures exacerbated by COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 03 August 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

Adult Social Care COVID-19 Taskforce: Self Directed Support (SDS) Advisory Group report

Department of Health and Social Care

This is the report of the Self Directed Support (SDS) Advisory Group, established to make recommendations to feed into the work of the Social Care Sector COVID -19 Support Taskforce. The Advisory Group looked specifically at what was needed to ensure that people who self direct their care and/or support (for themselves or a family member) are able to maintain their wellbeing, safety and independence during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report aligns its recommendations to seven ‘I’ statements, covering: 1. Rights – there needs to be specific guidance/ training on human rights in relation to Covid-19 with proactive safeguarding in place where needed; 2. Trust – implementation of existing Government guidance needs to be robustly monitored with statutory organisations being held to account if this doesn’t translate into people’s experiences; 3. Information – information needs to be available at a local level that is joined up across different agencies and developed with people who self-direct their support; 4. Practical Support – the offer of practical support should result from a coordinated effort and not be left to chance; 5. Connection – there needs to be coordinated and concerted activity to ensure people have opportunities for connection; 6. Balance – there needs to be coordinated and concerted activity to ensure people are contacted in a supportive way, on a regular basis should they wish, to check how they are doing; 7. Choice - where services are closed there should be alternatives offered or the ability to choose to use that element of PB/PHB in a different way.

Last updated on hub: 21 September 2020

Adult social care in England, monthly statistics: June 2021

Department of Health and Social Care

This statistical bulletin provides an overview on a range of information on social care settings, with a focus on the impact of COVID-19. This report provides newly published information on: selected infection prevention control (IPC) measures in care homes at national, regional and local authority (LA) level; staffing levels in care homes at national, regional and LA level; personal protective equipment (PPE) availability in care homes at national, regional and LA level; testing for COVID-19 in care homes at national, regional and LA level. This report also includes previously published statistics on first and second dose uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations in adult social care settings. As of 25 May 2021, the proportions who had received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were: 88.0% of residents and 65.7% of staff of older adult care homes; 79.4% of residents of younger adult care homes; 61.1% of staff of younger adult care homes, 48.0% of domiciliary care staff and 22.7% of staff employed in other social care settings.

Last updated on hub: 14 June 2021

Adult social care in England, monthly statistics: May 2021

Department of Health and Social Care

This statistical bulletin provides an overview on a range of information on social care settings, with a focus on the impact of COVID-19. This report provides newly published information on: selected infection prevention control (IPC) measures in care homes at national, regional and local authority (LA) level; staffing levels in care homes at national, regional and LA level; testing for COVID-19 in care homes at national, regional and LA level. This report also includes previously published statistics on first dose uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations in adult social care settings. As of 27 April 2021, the proportions who had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine were: 94.6% of residents and 81.0% of staff of older adult care homes; 89.8% of residents of younger adult care homes; 77.5% of staff of younger adult care homes, 72.8% of domiciliary care staff and 70.7% of staff employed in other social care settings.

Last updated on hub: 14 June 2021

Adult Social Care Infection Control and Testing Fund Ring-Fenced Grant 2021

Department of Health and Social Care

Sets out the measures that the new Infection Control and Testing Fund will support, including distribution of funds, conditions on funds and reporting requirements. The Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund was first introduced in May 2020. It was extended in October 2020 and, by March 2021 had provided over £1.1 billion of ring-fenced funding to support adult social care providers in England for infection prevention and control (IPC). The Rapid Testing Fund was introduced in January 2021 to support additional lateral flow testing of staff in care homes, and enable indoors, close contact visiting where possible. The new Infection Control and Testing Fund has consolidated these funding streams, with an extra £341 million of funding until June 2021. The purpose of this fund is to support adult social care providers to: reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission within and between care settings through effective IPC practices and increase uptake of staff vaccination; and conduct rapid testing of staff and visitors in care homes, high risk supported living and extra care settings, to enable close contact visiting where possible. This brings the total ring-fenced funding for infection prevention and control to almost £1.35 billion and support for lateral flow testing to £288 million in care settings.

Last updated on hub: 31 March 2021

Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund – round 2: guidance

Department of Health and Social Care

The purpose of this fund is to support adult social care providers, including those with whom the local authority does not have a contract, to reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission within and between care settings, in particular by helping to reduce the need for staff movements between sites. [Updated 8 April 2021]

Last updated on hub: 05 November 2020

Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund ring-fenced grant 2020: local authority circular

Department of Health and Social Care

Government circular outlining the Adult social care infection control fund, which aims to support adult social care providers to reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission in and between care homes and support wider workforce resilience. A small percentage of the fund can be used to support domiciliary care providers and support wider workforce resilience to deal with COVID-19 infections. The document is accompanied by five annexes which set out the conditions upon which the grant is paid and the local authorities to whom it will be paid. [First published 9 June 2020. Last updated: 21 September 2020].

Last updated on hub: 08 June 2020

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