COVID-19 resources on Infection control

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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

The experience of people approaching later life in lockdown: the impact of COVID-19 on 50-70-year olds in England

Ipsos MORI

Explores how people in their 50s and 60s experienced the COVID-19 pandemic; the future expectations and intentions of this age group, and how have these been shaped by the pandemic; and the implications of this for a future policy agenda. The report, which focuses on home and community, health and wellbeing and work and money, draws on a literature review exploring the latest evidence in relation to these policy areas; a survey of 1,000 people aged 50-70-years within England; and a longitudinal qualitative research with 19 purposively selected participants designed to reflect a range of different experiences. The findings highlight the correlation between age and health outcomes during the pandemic – there was a decline in physical health for one in five respondents while more than a third said their mental health got worse. Overall, the report finds that the lockdown has been tough on some – many people have seen their health deteriorate with more unhealthy behaviours, and more than two in five fear their finances will worsen in the year to come. But there have also been some positive changes, with many appreciating the time spent with family, helping their communities, a better work-life balance, and time to reflect on their careers and future. The report stresses that as the lockdown restrictions ease it will still take time for things to get back to normal – the data shows that two in five respondents think that it will take at least one to two years or longer.

Last updated on hub: 03 August 2020

Readying the NHS and social care for the COVID-19 peak

House of Commons

An examination of the health and social care response to COVID-19 in England and of the challenges to the services that the outbreak posed. The NHS was severely stretched but able to meet overall demand for COVID-19 treatment during the pandemic’s April peak; from early March to mid-May, the NHS increased the quantity of available ventilators and other breathing support, which are essential for the care of many COVID-patients. The report suggests that it has been a very different story for adult social care, despite the hard work and commitment of its workforce. Years of inattention, funding cuts and delayed reforms have been compounded by the Government’s slow, inconsistent and, at times, negligent approach to giving the sector the support it needed during the pandemic – responsibilities and accountabilities were unclear at the outset and there has been a failure to issue consistent and coherent guidance throughout the pandemic; 25,000 patients from were discharged from hospitals into care homes without making sure all were first tested for COVID-19; and the Government failed to provide adequate PPE for the social care sector and testing to the millions of staff and volunteers through the first peak of the crisis. The report argues that there are many lessons that the government must learn, not least giving adult social care equal support to the NHS and considering them as two parts of a single system, adequately funded and with clear accountability arrangements.

Last updated on hub: 03 August 2020

The doctor will Zoom you now: getting the most out of the virtual health and care experience: insight report

National Voices

Findings of a rapid, qualitative research study designed to understand the patient experience of remote and virtual consultations. The study engaged 49 people using an online platform, with 20 additional one to one telephone interviews. Participants were also invited to attend an online workshop on the final day of the study. All participants had experienced a remote consultation during the lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report suggests that remote consultations and the use of technology offer some great opportunities to make significant improvements to general practice, hospital outpatient and mental health appointments, but making the most of this opportunity means understanding the patient experience. For many people, remote consultations can offer a convenient option for speaking to their health care professional. They appreciate quicker and more efficient access, not having to travel, less time taken out of their day and an ability to fit the appointment in around their lives. Most people felt they received adequate care and more people than not said they would be happy with consultations being held remotely in future. However, there is no one size that fits all solution. Key to a successful shift to remote consultations will be understanding which approach is the right one based on individual need and circumstance. The report argues that a blended offer, including text, phone, video, email and in-person would provide the best solution and an opportunity to improve the quality of care. By focusing on the needs of people receiving care and using a combination of communication tools a more equal space for health care providers and patients to interact can be created.

Last updated on hub: 30 July 2020

Evaluation of the CAMHS In-Reach to Schools Pilot Programme: pilot progress and the impact of Covid 19, supplementary paper to the interim report

Welsh Government

This paper supplements the evaluation of the CAMHS In-Reach to Schools pilot, a programme that aims to build capacity (including skills, knowledge and confidence) in schools to support pupils’ mental health and well-being and improve schools’ access to specialist liaison, consultancy and advice when needed. It presents the data gathered through the second round of qualitative case-study research with a sample of school clusters, services, such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), school counselling, educational psychology and voluntary sector services, working with them, and interviews and discussions with CAMHS In-Reach Practitioners. The report aims to present the position for schools and services at the approximate midpoint of the pilot programme (early spring 2020) and provides a ‘snapshot’ of the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown upon schools, pupils and services in late April and May 2020. These latter findings are drawn from a small sample at a period in time, when schools were responding to a fast-moving and challenging situation. The report finds that there is a clear need, and strong support, for the pilot, and the impact of Covid-19 is expected to increase this need. The pilot programme allows schools to be better prepared than they would otherwise have been for the return of pupils and, to a lesser degree, staff. Nevertheless, they still want support from the pilots to help them prepare for schools increasing their operations, and the difficulties pupils and staff may experience when they return.

Last updated on hub: 30 July 2020

Direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on health and wellbeing: rapid evidence review

Liverpool John Moores University

This rapid review identifies the current evidence on the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on health and wellbeing. Rapid searches were carried out of the academic and grey literature between 18 May and 8 June 2020 to scope and collate evidence. These sources were analysed and used to prepare this rapid evidence review. The findings show that the impacts of COVID-19 have not been felt equally – the pandemic has both exposed and exacerbated longstanding inequalities in society. Conversely, there is also evidence of increased civic participation in response to the pandemic and a positive impact on social cohesion. However, social isolation and loneliness have impacted on wellbeing for many. There are serious concerns about how the combination of greater stress and reduced access to services for vulnerable children and their families may increase the risk of family violence and abuse. Compounding this, safeguarding issues have been largely hidden from view during lockdown. In addition, the review finds that the pandemic has both disrupted and changed the delivery of NHS and social care services. Concerns have been raised about significant drops in A&E use and the health care needs of people with long-term conditions have been significantly impacted. The report concludes by arguing that as we move from the response phase into recovery, the direct and wider impacts of the pandemic on individuals, households and communities will influence their capacity to recover.

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

Safe, happy and together: design ideas for minimising the spread of infection whilst nurturing social interaction in later living communities

Housing LIN

This report outlines a series of practical design recommendations to control the transmission of coronavirus, and other everyday infections, in later-living housing whilst maintaining social interaction for residents. Later living, in this paper, refers to residential accommodation consisting of self-contained apartments with associated communal, support and ancillary spaces under one roof. The document is intended to be a practical guide for designers, operators and developers refurbishing ageing later-living housing projects or considering new ones. It identifies thirteen specific areas that would require improvements in order to safeguard the mental and physical health of residents, and to enable staff to manage additional tasks that might be required of them during a pandemic. Key recommendations include creating a separate entrance for staff and deliveries, additional storage for PPE, ventilators, sanitation equipment at all entrances and installing a traffic light system in the lobby to control movement in and out of the building or a ‘pop-up’ shelter in the entrance courtyard for supervised visits.

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

Covid 19, low incomes and poverty

The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services

This summary provides an overview of recent evidence relating to Covid 19, low incomes and poverty. It is based on the findings of a search for academic research and grey literature using a wide range of search terms including: Covid-19, poverty, low incomes, deprivation, unemployment, health inequalities, housing, school closures, food poverty, fuel poverty, benefits system. The paper reveals that those living with socio-economic disadvantages and inequalities are more likely to experience poorer health, housing and education, lower income, and lack of access to quality outdoor space, all things most immediately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Poorer groups also have additional barriers as those who traditionally support them – friends and family, care groups and charities – may also experience a crisis or be unavailable. The report highlights the additional hardship for carers and those they care for – they are often already living on lower incomes so anything that stretches, reduces or removes it altogether will cause further deprivation. The need to maintain a focus on the gendered impact of the crisis is also highlighted – social isolation policies, and thus the current lockdown, increases women’s vulnerability to domestic abuse, with financial dependence and poverty as primary risk factors. The evidence also shows that structural inequalities put Black and Ethnic Minority (BAME) groups at much higher risk of illness from Covid-19, and facing harsher economic impacts from government measures to deal with the virus.

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

Supporting children and young people with SEND as schools and colleges prepare for wider opening

Department for Education

Risk assessment guidance for settings managing children and young people with an education, health and care (EHC) plan or complex needs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including special schools, specialist colleges, local authorities and any other settings managing children and young people with SEND. [Updated 24 July 2020]

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

Preventing and managing COVID-19 across long-term care services: policy brief

World Health Organization

This briefing provides policy objectives and key action points to prevent and manage COVID-19 across long-term care settings. The brief builds on currently available evidence on the measures taken to prevent, prepare for and respond to the pandemic across long-term care services including care providers. COVID-19 has affected older people disproportionately, especially those living in long-term care facilities. In many countries, evidence shows that more than 40% of COVID-19 related deaths have been linked to long-term care facilities, with figures being as high as 80% in some high-income countries. Concerted action is needed to mitigate the impact across all aspects of long-term care, including home- and community-based care, given that most users and providers of care are those who are vulnerable to severe COVID-19. Specifically, the paper argues that the following policy objectives should be pursued to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 across long-term care: include long-term care in all phases of the national response to the pandemic; mobilise adequate funding; ensure effective monitoring and evaluation of the impact of COVID-19 on long-term care; secure staff and resources, including adequate health workforce and health products; ensure the continuum and continuity of essential services for people receiving long-term care; ensure that infection prevention and control standards are implemented and adhered to in all long-term care settings; prioritise testing, contact tracing and monitoring of the spread of COVID-19 among people receiving and providing long-term care services; provide support for family and voluntary caregivers; prioritise the psychosocial well-being of people receiving and providing long-term care services; ensure a smooth transition to the recovery phase; and initiate steps for the transformation and integration of health and long-term care systems.

Last updated on hub: 27 July 2020

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