COVID-19 resources on infection control

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult care homes guidance

Scottish Government

This guidance sets out how care home visiting may be gradually increased while minimising risks to residents, staff and visitors. There are two main sets of guidance for care homes, focussed on resuming: visiting by friends and family; visits into the home by volunteers, spiritual/faith representatives and professionals; wellbeing activities. The guidance recommends care homes take a staged approach to resuming visiting. In addition, the guidance sets out actions to mitigate risks to residents, visitors and staff. For all care homes, regardless of Covid status, essential visits should be generously supported where possible to do so safely, without a defined time limit.

Last updated on hub: 22 December 2020

Lonely and left behind: tackling loneliness at a time of crisis

British Red Cross

Findings from an in-depth qualitative research, exploring the experience of loneliness among people who had been isolating or shielding as a result of the pandemic. The research took a longitudinal, case study approach, engaging 16 participants from a range of backgrounds through a series of in-depth telephone interviews and written diary tasks between July and September 2020. Each of the participants had been, at the time of the research, isolating or shielding, with some starting to reintegrate throughout the period. The study reveals that: many participants were feeling lonely or isolated before the pandemic, often due to experiencing a degree of turbulence in their lives, and this has been compounded by the impacts of the pandemic and being less able to utilise previous coping strategies during lockdown; all participants reported experiencing loneliness more often as a result of the pandemic and lockdown; for participants who continue to shield as lockdown restrictions eased, feelings of loneliness either stayed the same or worsened as they watched others resume their social lives, and they reported feeling ‘left behind’; participants pointed to the heightened importance of technology and entertainment to try to cope with loneliness, rather than the physical social interactions that they would have been able to turn to prior to the pandemic; of the policy and practice solutions tested with participants, the most popular solution was investing in remote mental health and emotional support. It was felt any type of support would need to be delivered remotely, due to fear of COVID-19 and reluctance to access options that would require physical travel or mixing with others in person.

Last updated on hub: 17 December 2020

Valuing voices in Wales: protecting rights through the pandemic and beyond

National Development Team for Inclusion

This report brings together findings from a survey, carried out in June 2020, of 72 advocates working across Wales. Advocates shared urgent concerns which reflect not only the restrictions that the pandemic brought but also the wider societal and cultural belief systems and attitudes towards people who are supported through advocacy. There are widespread and profound concerns about the impact of the pandemic on the human rights of people who use health and social care services. Responses indicated frequent failures to provide people with the support to which they are legally entitled, increasing risks of abuse and harm and weaknesses in the safeguards needed to prevent and address these. Key findings show that: eighty-five percent (85%) of advocates felt the human rights of the people they support were not being fully upheld; a third (33%) of advocates had experienced Do Not Attempt Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation orders (DNACPRs) being placed on the people they support without any regard to the person’s feelings, wishes, values or beliefs, and without formal capacity assessments or consultation with family; over forty percent (43%) of advocates reported care providers had stopped all visitors and almost a third (31%) reported that people were being confined to their rooms; over a quarter of advocates (28%) experienced a care provider seeking to prevent access to advocates despite rights to advocacy remaining unchanged; while some people find digital communication can be as effective as meeting in person, for most people it is not comparable. It means that they are not getting the support they need and this risks further entrenching health inequalities.

Last updated on hub: 16 December 2020

Child protection conference practice during COVID-19: reflections and experiences (rapid consultation September–October 2020)

Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

This rapid consultation aimed to explore how child protection conferences (CPCs) practice has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact this has had on the children, families, and professionals involved. The consultation included an online survey and a series of interviews; 492 professionals responded to the survey and there were respondents from 108 of 151 local authorities in England and 16 of 22 in Wales; 52 of the professionals were also interviewed; 24 parents responded to the survey and 14 of them were interviewed. Survey responses suggested that CPCs were mainly being conducted over video or by phone, while a substantial minority of professionals had attended at least one ‘hybrid’ conference, where some people attended in person, and others joined by phone or video. Overall, according to professionals, the positives and negatives associated with remote CPCs are fairly evenly balanced. The main advantages identified were: better attendance by, and improved engagement of, a wider range of professionals, as well as convenience in terms of time saved; some felt that CPCs were less intimidating for parents. The main disadvantages as far as professionals were concerned were: limitations in terms of the restricted opportunities for discussion and reflection; problems with technology; loss of a sense of seriousness; issues around parental engagement - this includes parents not always being able to understand what was happening and not being prepared or supported to engage fully - particular issues were identified for parents with learning difficulties and language or communication needs; overarching concerns around confidentiality and safety. The small sample of parents who responded to the survey or were interviewed were much less positive than professionals – all parents interviewed said they would have preferred a face-to-face conference.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

Unequal impact? Coronavirus and BAME people: third report of session 2019-21

House of Commons

Findings from an inquiry exploring the extent to which, throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) people have been affected by pre-existing inequalities across a huge range of areas, including health, employment, accessing Universal Credit, housing and the no recourse to public funds policy. The report considers the health factors that have exacerbated the impact of the coronavirus pandemic for BAME people, including the role played by comorbidities, health inequalities, and other wider determinants of health. It examines the interplay between an individual’s occupation and their exposure to the virus; the relationship between pre-existing occupational inequality and how this was heightened by the economic consequences of the pandemic; and how BAME people have been particularly affected by zero-hour contracts during the pandemic. The report also looks at some of the challenges faced by BAME people when applying for Universal Credit (UC), as more people are turning to the UC system to access necessary support; and examines how pre-existing housing inequalities amplified the impact of coronavirus for BAME communities, focusing on the health impacts of overcrowding and housing conditions. Finally, the report highlights early evidence suggesting that there are severe impacts of the no recourse to public funds policy that need to be addressed.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

Child protection conference practice during COVID-19: reflections and experiences (rapid consultation September–October 2020): executive summary

Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

Summary of the findings of a rapid consultation to explore how child protection conferences (CPCs) practice has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact this has had on the children, families, and professionals involved. The consultation included an online survey and a series of interviews; 492 professionals responded to the survey and there were respondents from 108 of 151 local authorities in England and 16 of 22 in Wales; 52 of the professionals were also interviewed; 24 parents responded to the survey and 14 of them were interviewed. Survey responses suggested that CPCs were mainly being conducted over video or by phone, while a substantial minority of professionals had attended at least one ‘hybrid’ conference, where some people attended in person, and others joined by phone or video. Overall, according to professionals, the positives and negatives associated with remote CPCs are fairly evenly balanced. The main advantages identified were: better attendance by, and improved engagement of, a wider range of professionals, as well as convenience in terms of time saved; some felt that CPCs were less intimidating for parents. The main disadvantages as far as professionals were concerned were: limitations in terms of the restricted opportunities for discussion and reflection; problems with technology; loss of a sense of seriousness; issues around parental engagement - this includes parents not always being able to understand what was happening and not being prepared or supported to engage fully - particular issues were identified for parents with learning difficulties and language or communication needs; overarching concerns around confidentiality and safety. The small sample of parents who responded to the survey or were interviewed were much less positive than professionals – all parents interviewed said they would have preferred a face-to-face conference.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

Build back fairer: the COVID-19 Marmot review. The pandemic, socioeconomic and health inequalities in England

The aim of this report is three-fold: to examine inequalities in COVID-19 mortality, focusing on mortality among members of BAME groups and among certain occupations, alongside continued attention to the socioeconomic gradient in health; to show the effects that the pandemic, and the societal response to contain the pandemic, have had on social and economic inequalities, their effects on mental and physical health, and their likely effects on health inequalities in the future; and to make recommendations on what needs to be done. The report sets out the proposition that England’s comparatively poor management of the pandemic is of a piece with England’s health improvement falling behind that of other rich countries in the decade since 2010. It offers four likely reasons why: the quality of governance and political culture which did not give priority to the conditions for good health; continuing increases in inequalities in economic and social conditions, including a rise in poverty among families with children; a policy of austerity and consequent cuts to funding of public services; and a poor state of the nation’s health that would increase the lethality of COVID-19. The high mortality rate of members of Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups can be attributed to living in more deprived areas, working in high-risk occupations, living in overcrowded conditions. Structural racism means that some ethnic groups are more likely to be exposed to adverse social and economic conditions. The report argues that the pandemic must be taken as an opportunity to build a fairer society, acknowledging that economic growth is a limited measure of societal success. It suggests that to build back fairer there needs to be a commitment at two levels. First is the commitment to social justice and putting equity of health and wellbeing at the heart of all policy-making, nationally, regionally and locally. The second level is to take the specific actions needed, as laid out in this report, to create healthier lives for all.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

The Government’s response to the Joint Committee on Human Rights report: the Government’s response to COVID-19: human rights implications

Department of Health and Social Care

The government’s formal response to the 55 recommendations made by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its report ‘The government’s response to COVID-19: human rights implications’. The original recommendations and this response focus on: the lockdown regulations; health and care; detention; contact tracing; children and the right to education; access to justice; procedural obligations to protect the right to life; accountability and scrutiny. The document reiterates that while the Care Act easements were intended as a tool to help local authorities continue to meet the most urgent and acute needs in the face of COVID-19, public safety remains a top priority, including for those who need care and support – Local Authorities remain under a duty to meet needs where failure to do so would breach an individual’s human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

Build back fairer: the COVID-19 Marmot review. The pandemic, socioeconomic and health inequalities in England. Executive summary

The aim of this report is three-fold: to examine inequalities in COVID-19 mortality, focusing on mortality among members of BAME groups and among certain occupations, alongside continued attention to the socioeconomic gradient in health; to show the effects that the pandemic, and the societal response to contain the pandemic, have had on social and economic inequalities, their effects on mental and physical health, and their likely effects on health inequalities in the future; and to make recommendations on what needs to be done. The report sets out the proposition that England’s comparatively poor management of the pandemic is of a piece with England’s health improvement falling behind that of other rich countries in the decade since 2010. It offers four likely reasons why: the quality of governance and political culture which did not give priority to the conditions for good health; continuing increases in inequalities in economic and social conditions, including a rise in poverty among families with children; a policy of austerity and consequent cuts to funding of public services; and a poor state of the nation’s health that would increase the lethality of COVID-19. The high mortality rate of members of Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups can be attributed to living in more deprived areas, working in high-risk occupations, living in overcrowded conditions. Structural racism means that some ethnic groups are more likely to be exposed to adverse social and economic conditions. The report argues that the pandemic must be taken as an opportunity to build a fairer society, acknowledging that economic growth is a limited measure of societal success. It suggests that to build back fairer there needs to be a commitment at two levels. First is the commitment to social justice and putting equity of health and wellbeing at the heart of all policy-making, nationally, regionally and locally. The second level is to take the specific actions needed, as laid out in this report, to create healthier lives for all.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

Care and support workers’ perceptions of health and safety issues in social care during the COVID-19 pandemic: initial findings, 15 April 2020

University of Kent

This paper provides initial findings from legal and survey data about the role of care and support providers in the pandemic as employers with legal responsibilities for preventing harm to staff and people who use their services. The evidence suggests that care and supports workers, care home residents and other users of care and support services are exposed to the risk of SARS-CoV-2 virus without the protections to which they are legally entitled. The research team worked with UNISON in the North West of England to analyse findings from a survey of 2,600 care workers in approximately 1,200 different settings across residential care, home care, and support services for people with learning disabilities. The analysis of results is split into three sections, covering concerns about the need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); pay problems; and other COVID-19 related health and safety concerns. The findings reveal that: a large majority of respondents believe too little is being done by employers to keep staff safe from the risks SARS-CoV-2 infection; a large majority of respondents believe too little is being done by employers to keep people using care and support safe; 8 in 10 care workers think that they would not be paid their wages as normal if they had to self-isolate; care workers who are ill with COVID-19 are not all self-isolating; care workers believe that lack of attention to minimising the risk of infection in care and support settings has directly contributed to outbreaks of COVID-19 in social care settings.

Last updated on hub: 14 December 2020

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