COVID-19 resources on Infection control

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Social Care Sector: Covid-19 Support Taskforce: full recommendations - including all Advisory Group recommendations

Department of Health and Social Care

This document presents the full recommendations of the Social Care Sector COVID-19 Support Taskforce and the eight advisory groups. In response to COVID-19, the taskforce was commissioned, beginning its work on 15 June 2020 and completing its work at the end of August 2020, to provide advice and recommendations to government and the social care sector. Eight advisory groups were established to explore specific areas of care, namely: black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities; carers; good practice, guidance and innovation; mental health and wellbeing; older people and people living with dementia; people with learning disabilities and autistic people; self-directed support; and workforce. In addition to the specific themes of the advisory groups, the recommendations cover the key themes in the overall management of COVID-19 and social care, including personal protective equipment (PPE), testing, flu vaccine, workforce and carers, training, funding, evidence and guidance, communication, clinical support, movement of people between care and health settings, inspection and regulation, capacity, expertise and information, use of data and digital, and national, regional and local structures; the Care Home Support Plan; the Adult Social Care Action Plan; managing community outbreaks and the response of social care; key themes emerging from the taskforce advisory groups; and planning for the next phase of the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 21 September 2020

Social Care Taskforce: Workforce Advisory Group: report and recommendations

Department of Health and Social Care

This is the report of the Workforce Advisory Group, established to make recommendations to feed into the work of the Social Care Sector COVID -19 Support Taskforce. Two consistent themes have run throughout the work of the Advisory Group: the low priority given to planning and resource allocation for the workforce who support individual employers; and the importance of coherent and timely guidance which meets the needs of the workforce and their employers in their respective environments. The recommendations have been grouped as “top priority”, “highly important” and “important”. The top priorities cover: pay and recognition of the workforce; maintain the safety and wellbeing of our workforce; fully-fund measures to minimise staff movement and self-isolation; supporting workers’ mental and physical health; and maximise uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination.

Last updated on hub: 21 September 2020

Social Care Working Group consensus statement, March 2021

Department of Health and Social Care

Outlines the SAGE Social Care Working Group’s methodology for determining the minimum level of vaccine coverage in care home settings. Modelling analysis in March 2021 estimated that 75% of staff (given that 90% of residents in each individual care home had been vaccinated) provided a level of protection sufficient to limit outbreaks assuming other mitigations are in place. During March this analysis was updated to 80% coverage in staff and 90% in residents reflecting a slight change in evidence for efficacy of vaccination. This statement indicates that the calculations on recommended coverage should be taken as the best estimate at the time of writing. Given the changing epidemiological situation, they should be continually reviewed as evidence emerges. There is no certain threshold for protective vaccine coverage levels – the 80% to 90% coverage values previously calculated were based on single dose reported AZ efficacy rates. Vaccine is not a silver bullet, just part of our armoury against COVID-19. There is a risk that vaccination may lead to a reduced use of testing, PPE and IPC at a time that vigilance is needed against new variants with poorer vaccine efficacy.

Last updated on hub: 26 May 2021

Social connection, loneliness and lockdown

Research In Practice: Dartington

Katy Shorten gives a comprehensive overview of loneliness and key messages from the literature for social care. The blog covers: identifying loneliness; the importance of social networks and activities; the role of technology; partnership working with organisations that support people and communities; building relationships; and being person-centred. The blog signposts to key evidence and resources.

Last updated on hub: 29 June 2020

Social distancing and social work field placements

Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning

The impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on social work practice placements around the world and in the United Arab Emirates is of concern to students, social work educators and service users. This practice note, focuses on the impact of the interruption to social work practice learning for students at the United Arab Emirates University and reflect on the introduction of 'social distancing', a health and safety strategy aimed at reducing the likelihood of the spread of the coronavirus. The paper proposes ways in which students in school placements can continue to develop their social work knowledge and skills ‘from a distance’ and while physically absent from their practice learning settings.

Last updated on hub: 17 April 2020

Social distancing in a social therapy environment

Therapeutic Communities: the International Journal of Therapeutic Communities

Purpose: This paper aims to describe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a prison-based therapeutic community (TC). Design/methodology/approach: The paper takes the form of a case study where the authors reflect on their current practice, using the findings of research on social isolation and the overarching TC principles to explore the effect of the pandemic on the TC at HMP Grendon. The authors consider how the residents and staff adjusted to the change as the parameters changed when the social distancing rules were imposed and how they adapted to the prolonged break to therapy. Sections in the paper were written by a resident and an operational member of staff. The authors conclude with their thoughts on how to manage the consequences the lockdown has brought and start to think about what returning to “normality” might mean. Findings: The paper describes the adjustments made by the residents and staff as the UK Government imposed the lockdown. The authors, including a resident and an operational member of staff comment on the psychological and practical impact these adjustments had. The thought is given to the idea of “recovery”, returning to “normality” and how this study can be best managed once restrictions are lifted. Research limitations/implications: At the time of writing, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at HMP Grendon. The measures and commitment from all staff and residents in the prison to keep the prison environment safe may in part account for this. This paper explores the effects of lockdown on the emotional environment in a TC and highlights the consequences that social isolation can have on any individual. To the authors’ knowledge, there is currently no research undertaken on the impact of lockdown/social isolation on a TC. This research would be useful, as the authors postulate from reflections on current practice that the effects of the lockdown will be greater in a social therapy environment. Originality/value: HMP Grendon started in 1962, as this time there have been no significant events that have meant the suspension of therapy for such a sustained period. It is, therefore, important that the impact of such is considered and reflected upon.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

Social work and COVID-19 pandemic: an action call

International Social Work

The social work profession, more than any other, is most hurt by the rampaging coronavirus (aka, COVID-19) pandemic given the scourge’s pernicious impact on society’s underserved and undervalued populations. More so, the pandemic has undermined the profession’s historical value commitment to social justice and human rights while overturning our insistence on the importance of human relationships. The purpose of this essay is to explicate the nexus between social work and COVID-19 pandemic. While noting the deafening silence of the profession in the global discourse of the pandemic, it advocates for the urgency of our response if our profession is to attain significant public value amid the current loss of lives and threats to human rights. Strategies for our professional action, in flattening the curve of the contagion, are laid out.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

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

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

Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

Public Health England

This guidance is intended for: people with symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus, and do not require hospital treatment, who must remain at home until they are well; and those living in households with someone who shows symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus. Also includes specific guidance for households with grandparents, parents and children living together where someone is at increased risk or has possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. [First published 12 March 2020. Last updated 20 September 2020]

Last updated on hub: 22 July 2020

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