COVID-19 resources on Infection control

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Older people’s nonphysical contacts and depression during the COVID-19 lockdown

Gerontologist

Background and Objectives: With the goal of slowing down the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, restrictions to physical contacts have been taken in many countries. We examine to what extent intergenerational and other types of nonphysical contacts have reduced the risk of increased perceived depressive feelings during the lockdown for people aged 50+. Research Design and Methods: We implemented an online panel survey based on quota sampling in France, Italy, and Spain in April 2020, about 1 month after the start of the lockdown. Our analyses are based on logistic regression models and use post-stratification weights. Results: About 50% of individuals aged 50+ felt sad or depressed more often than usual during the lockdown in the 3 considered countries. Older people who increased or maintained unchanged nonphysical contacts with noncoresident individuals during the lockdown were at a lower risk of increased perceived depressive feelings compared to those who experienced a reduction in nonphysical contacts. The beneficial effect of nonphysical contacts was stronger for intergenerational relationships. The effects were similar by gender and stronger among individuals aged 70+, living in Spain and not living alone before the start of the lockdown. Discussion and Implications: In the next phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, or during any future similar pandemic, policy makers may implement measures that balance the need to reduce the spread of the virus with the necessity of allowing for limited physical contacts. Social contacts at a distance may be encouraged as a means to keep social closeness, while being physically distant.

Last updated on hub: 06 March 2021

On site testing for adult social care services: rapid lateral flow test kits

Department of Health and Social Care

This guidance explains how adult social care services can prepare and manage on-site lateral flow testing. This can include testing of people who work in social care; professionals visiting a social care service for work; people getting care and support from social care services; people visiting someone who gets care and support. Lateral flow antigen testing involves processing a throat and nasal swab sample with an extraction fluid and a rapid lateral flow device (LFT). The rapid LFT detects a COVID-19 antigen that is produced when a person is infectious with COVID-19. If this antigen is present, then a coloured strip will appear which indicates a positive result. Lateral flow testing is not a fool proof solution: it should be seen as an addition to PPE and other IPC measures and must not be seen as a way of relaxing their use. The guidance covers: testing process overview; testing technology and preparations; and testing instructions (prepare testing area, check-in the person being tested, sample collection, sample analysis, result analysis, process and record results, and results guidance). [Published: 24 March 2021; Last updated: 18 June 2021]

Last updated on hub: 08 March 2021

One year report on the status on the non-devolved provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020: March 2021

Department of Health and Social Care

One-year status report on which powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020 are currently active. The Act was designed to protect public health in various ways, with the ultimate aim of facilitating sufficient preparation for a worst-case scenario. The Act ensured that the NHS had the capacity to deal with the peak of the virus by allowing the temporary registration of nurses and other healthcare professionals. It also protected critical societal functions and ensured that they were still able to continue, such as providing courts with the ability to use video technology. The Act meant that we were able to ensure effective support packages such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employed Income Support Scheme were in place for people and businesses alike. To achieve this aim, the Act enables action in five key areas: increasing the available health and social care workforce; easing and reacting to the burden on frontline staff; supporting people, providing access financial support when they need it; containing and slowing the virus; and managing the deceased with respect and dignity.

Last updated on hub: 23 March 2021

On-site testing for adult social care services: rapid lateral flow test guide

Department of Health and Social Care

This guidance is for all adult social care services where on-site testing is conducted using rapid lateral flow tests. provide guidance on how to prepare and manage on-site lateral flow testing. On-site testing can reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) but it does not completely remove the risk of infection. All other IPC measures must continue to be followed. It covers: rapid LFT technology, training and safety; how to use the handheld scanner; preparing the testing area; checking in the person being tested; sample collection; sample analysis; results analysis; process and record results; and results guidance. [Last updated: 5 July 2021]

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2021

Open with care: care home managers feedback on implementation survey findings

Scottish Government

Findings from an online survey of care home managers to provide feedback to the Scottish Government on their experiences of implementing the Open with Care visiting guidance, and help to inform future planning and guidance to support the sector. The guidance supports meaningful contact to resume between adult care home residents and their loved ones, beginning with visiting up to twice a week. This guidance is now possible due to all the COVID-protections in place. A total of 434 responses were received between 30th July and 15th August 2021. Main findings include: the majority of respondents were supporting a range of visiting options and were planning to continue to increase contact for residents and their families and friends; respondents viewed visiting as vitally important for residents and their loved ones, and they were striving to deliver meaningful contact safely; however, it was clear that respondents were dealing with substantial logistical challenges and sensitive issues around visiting, within the context of balancing safety and risk, and were very concerned about future outbreaks and potential repercussions; the majority of respondents were experiencing significant challenges in relation to staffing and workload; for some respondents, ensuring visitor compliance with guidance was a further challenge; there were mixed views about the advice, guidance and support provided for Open with Care with calls for more notice to be given around significant guidance changes and suggestions for improving the clarity of guidance.

Last updated on hub: 08 November 2021

Open with care: supporting meaningful contact in care homes

Scottish Government

This guidance applies to all adult care homes, which are now asked to make arrangements to enable meaningful contact with residents and loved ones. Given each care home has different circumstances to take into account, this guidance allows appropriate local flexibility as we continue to fight the global pandemic. Care homes and relatives are asked to work together thoughtfully and constructively in the short period while preparations and adaptions are put in place. The guidance states that care homes should work to increase the frequency and duration of meaningful contact with residents. In the first instance, resuming indoor visiting should involve up to two designated visitors weekly, visiting one at a time. This should however be seen as the minimum starting point with consideration given to increasing the number of visitors and frequency of visiting, as and when the care home judges it is safe to do so, with expert advice and support from oversight arrangements where appropriate.

Last updated on hub: 08 November 2021

Opening schools safely in the COVID-19 era: school social workers’ experiences and recommendations: a research brief for policymakers

University of California

This policy brief presents data from a national survey of school social workers (SSWs) exploring the impacts of COVID-19 school disruptions in the United States. It highlights the need to address hunger, housing instability, health, mental health and other challenges that a high proportion of students are experiencing, especially low-income students. From a capacity perspective, SSWs in the study report that sizable proportions of students are suffering from difficulties due to discrimination, family discord, child abuse, language difficulties, and community violence; SSWs are called to perform the same Herculean tasks that face other educators and school staff in this pandemic but there are concerns that this work is being done with few resources, outside supports, or governmental guidance; greater supports, like the personal protective equipment (PPE) given to health care professions, are needed for educational staff and social workers who are on the front lines of the pandemic. The paper argues that given SSWs’ ecological view and historical commitment to under-served communities, their voices should be heard in planning school reopening. Based on the findings from the survey, the brief recommends the following actions: create a rapid-response team of school professionals from multiple fields to develop a systemic, national response to support schools; prioritise the response to the most hard-hit schools and communities; develop three evidence-driven national plans, one for in-person instruction, one for online, and one for a hybrid; provide additional supports and resources, including more trained social workers sent to the most stressed schools and communities.

Last updated on hub: 20 August 2020

Opening schools safely in the COVID-19 era: school social workers’ experiences and recommendations: technical report

University of California

This report summarises initial findings from a national survey of school social workers’ (SSWs) (n=1,275) practising across the United States. Findings highlight serious challenges facing schools, school staff, and students. Some of these challenges are specifically related to educational goals, but many are related to basic needs that are a prerequisite to academic and social emotional learning. Many SSWs reported having limited to no contact with some of their students because they couldn’t establish a connection with them during the shutdown; they expressed significant concerns about the motivation and engagement of the 81% of students with whom they did work; and reported that a majority of their students and families had profound, immediate, and urgent needs related to food insufficiency (62.4%), housing instability (42.8), health issues (61.6%), individualised student tutoring (62.3%), and mental health services (75.7%). While findings speak to the dynamism and creativity of SSWs in this pandemic, findings also revealed many troubling and serious issues that need immediate attention as schools plan how to re-open in the fall. Implications for professional development, district supports, university training, and a national effort to reconnect a potential “lost generation of students” are discussed and outlined. The report makes a series of recommendations, including a call to action for the various school social work organisations to join together to help SSWs and their school communities respond effectively as the pandemic continues to impact on the academic and social experience of children.

Last updated on hub: 20 August 2020

Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

Cabinet Office

This document describes the progress the UK has made to date in tackling the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and sets out the plans for moving to the next phase of its response to the virus. The strategy sets out a roadmap to easing existing measures and lift restrictions. It also provides details of the fourteen supporting programmes of work that will be delivered by the Government to achieve this. These include work to support care homes during the pandemic and strengthen the protections against infection of care home residents.

Last updated on hub: 08 June 2020

Outcomes in French nursing homes that implemented staff confinement with residents

Question: Was self-confinement of staff members with residents in French nursing homes during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic associated with better outcomes related to COVID-19 compared with overall national outcomes? Findings: This cohort study including 17 nursing homes with staff self-confinement and 9513 nursing homes in a national survey found that nursing homes with staff self-confinement experienced lower mortality related to COVID-19 among residents and lower incidence of COVID-19 among residents and staff members than rates recorded in a national survey. Meaning: These findings suggest that self-confinement of nursing home staff members with residents may help protect residents from mortality related to COVID-19 and residents and staff from COVID-19 infection. Citation: Belmin J. et al. (2020). Coronavirus disease 2019 outcomes in French nursing homes that implemented staff confinement with residents. JAMA network open, 3(8), e2017533-e2017533.

Last updated on hub: 13 November 2020

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