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“New research by the Health Foundation shows that the amount of hospital care received by those living in care homes in England rapidly declined in the first three months of the pandemic in 2020 and was substantially lower than in the same period in 2019.

The research, which is due to be peer reviewed, provides the first comprehensive and national analysis of all hospital care provided to care home residents during the first wave of the pandemic.

It appears to substantiate concerns that care home residents (including those in nursing homes and residential care) may have faced barriers to accessing hospital treatment as the NHS rapidly reorganised to free up hospital capacity to care for critically ill COVID-19 patients.”

If you would like to read more click on this link

“International Public Policy Observatory (IPPO)  has been set up with support from the Economic and Social Research Council to provide key policymakers in government throughout the UK with access to the best available evidence and insights on the social impacts of the pandemic.

Stakeholder engagement is a core component of our work, including regular roundtable discussions with key decision-makers, frontline staff and academic experts. On March 23, we will host a roundtable to discuss the mental health and wellbeing impacts of COVID-19 on care home residents and staffAhead of this meeting, we’d like to hear first-hand from people such as yourself who are on the frontline of the pandemic response, working in key roles within the care sector.

Would you be willing to have a short (15-minute) call to talk through your thoughts with one of the IPPO team? 

Examples of the questions we’d like to ask you:

  • What are the key issues and concerns you are facing in your role at the moment
  • How has COVID-19 affected you personally, in and outside work?
  • Do you feel you are receiving enough support, and the right kind of support?
  • What other interventions or changes to your working life would make the most positive impact?
  • Do you feel your experiences are being accurately reflected in the media?
  • What extra information related to the pandemic would help you the most?
How the conversation will be used?
Firstly, we must stress that nothing you say will be used without your permission. We will always send the quotes we would like to use back to you first to check.

We will also never use your name or any details that could identify you. We may refer to your region and job role if it’s relevant to the points being made (for example, if referring to a policy area which is devolved, or unique to your particular area of work) – but only with your permission.

We plan to use some of your experiences within a blogpost on the IPPO website which will also include the anonymised experiences of other people working in your field from all over the UK, under a section called ‘frontline voices’The idea is to help policymakers understand the daily issues that you and your colleagues are facing, alongside the latest research which we are also providing to them.

The notes from our call will only be shared with a small number of colleagues within IPPO who are working on this project. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this request – and thank you for your time mike.herd@theconversation.com

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on care homes all over the UK. In the first of our investigations in this topic area, we plan to look at the lasting impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of people who have been living in care during COVID-19. For example, what robust evidence is there regarding patterns of worsening mental ill-health within care homes because of full lockdowns and other restrictions on social contact – whether in relation to anxiety, depression, loneliness or dementia? 

 

What are the challenges of coping with often greatly-reduced group activities, and what do we know of interventions being taken to address these challenges? Which initiatives are proving most effective in maintaining wellbeing and mental health? And given that most care home residents will soon have been vaccinated, what can be done to address the deteriorations in mental health that have been observed? 

 

We hope this discussion will help participants to better understand the current policy responses, and the state of evidence.  We’ll also use it to clarify more detailed questions which we can follow up on.”

 

The event will take place on Tuesday 23rd March, 16:00 – 17:00, to be held on Zoom

If you would like to attend,  please email us at ippo@ucl.ac.uk  by Wednesday 10th March.

“Most countries have restricted visits to care homes to prevent COVID-19 infections, however, concern is increasing about the negative impact of these restrictions on the health and wellbeing of care home residents and their families.

We carried out a rapid review of evidence to address three questions:

  1. What is the evidence on the impact of visitors in terms of infections in care homes?
    • We found no scientific evidence that visitors to care homes introduced COVID-19 infections, however during the peak of the pandemic most countries did not allow visiting and there are some anecdotal reports attributing infections to visitors before restrictions.
  2. What is the evidence on the impact of closing care homes to visitors on the wellbeing of residents?
    • There is increasing evidence that care home residents experienced greater depression and loneliness and demonstrated more behavioural disturbance during the period that included visitor bans.
  3. What has been the impact of restricting visits on quality of care?
    • There is evidence of substantial care provision by unpaid carers and volunteers in care homes prior to the pandemic, hence visiting restrictions may have resulted in reductions in quality of care or additional tasks for care home staff.

Conclusions:

Given that there were already low rates of social interactions among residents and loneliness before the COVID-19 pandemic, the evidence reviewed suggests that visiting restrictions are likely to have exacerbated this further. While there is no scientific evidence identifying visitors as the source of infections this is likely to reflect that most care homes did not allow visitors during the initial peaks of the pandemic. A pilot re-opening homes to visits under strict guidelines did not result in any infections.

Allowing visitors in facilities where there are no COVID-19 cases is important to support resident wellbeing. Safeguards to reduce risk of COVID-19 infection have been described, including visits through windows/glass, outdoor visits, and well-ventilated indoor spaces, screening of visitors, use of masks and other PPE and hand hygiene and cleaning.

In addition, it is important to recognize and support the provision of unpaid care, particularly for people who pre-COVID had a history of regular visiting to provide care (e.g. feeding, grooming, emotional support). They should be classified as essential workers, provided training and PPE, and be allowed to visit regularly and provide care, interacting as closely with residents as staff.”

 

More more information click here for the LTC Covid website

This webinar produced by LTC Covid explores the experiences on safe visiting in care homes during COVID-19 in Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, the UK and USA, and presents evidence-base recommendations to inform care homes and government policies on visiting in care homes during this and future pandemics, building on a recent international report.

For access to the webinar click here

Do you work in a care home?

Researcher at Glasgow Caledonian University are researching the impact of COVID 19 on staff working in nursing and residential care homes across the UK and Ireland. We know the pandemic continues to present many difficulties for people who live and work in the care home sector and we believe it is important to hear the voices of the people at the frontline.

We are inviting you to tell us about your experiences by completing an anonymous online questionnaire.

If you work in any role, in one or more care homes, please help us to learn more about your experiences with COVID 19. 

If you would like more information about this study Information about the research please click here

If you would like to complete the survey it can be found here

“This report aims to provide an overview of data and policies in relation to COVID-19 vaccinations for people who use and provide long-term care. It is a “living report” that will be updated regularly, please email s.e.lauter@lse.ac.uk if you would like to contribute or aware of relevant sources of information.

  • The report shows data for populations that either use and provide long-term care or are likely to do so. So far very few countries routinely share data on the characteristics of people who are receiving vaccinations. In all other countries the data has been announced by official sources to the media.
  • On the 11th January we have found data on COVID-19 vaccinations in care homes for 8 countries, and for some regions/nations in Spain and the United Kingdom.
  • 2 countries (Denmark and Israel) and a region in Spain (Asturias) report having completed first doses of vaccination for all care home residents and staff. Over half of all care home residents are reported to have been given a first dose of vaccine in Catalonia (Spain), Northern Ireland and Scotland, and over a quarter in Croatia, Cyprus and Germany, and close to 15% in Italy and the United States.
  • The share of doses of vaccines given to people living in care homes ranges from 6% in Italy to 73% in Croatia.
  • We have not found official data, so far, on the share of care home residents who either refuse the vaccination, cannot consent or are excluded from vaccination due to other reasons.
  • Initial review of prioritization documents shows that all countries prioritise vaccinations for healthcare staff, and, with slight variations in order, care home residents and staff, older people and, less frequently, people who rely on care in the community and unpaid carers.
  • Indonesia is an exception in that the working age population is currently prioritised and not older people.
  • There are few mentions of people living with dementia or people with learning disabilities.”

The full report is available here

Authors: Shoshana Lauter, Klara Lorenz-Dant, Adelina Comas-Herrera (Care Policy and Evaluation Centre, Department of Health Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science) and Eleonora Perobelli (Observatory on Long-Term Care, CERGAS SDA Bocconi)

“The COVID-19 crisis has brought with it many challenges, but few have been as striking as those facing care homes. Working in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners, THIS Institute is seeking to appoint a fellow to lead a study aimed at co-producing a vision for high quality primary care for people who live in care homes and a theory of change for how it might be achieved within current structures and resources.

The successful applicant will remain employed by their own university or organisation, and will be part of a vibrant professional learning community supported by THIS Institute. The fellowship should be completed in 12-15 months, and can be undertaken full-time or part-time (minimum 0.6 FTE). It is expected that the fellowship will begin during Spring 2021.”

Application deadline 22 January 2021

 

To find out more about this opportunity click here

Coping with infection-control measures in Care Homes during the COVID-19 pandemic

We are a group of researchers from the University of East Anglia (Norfolk, UK) and we are looking for care home staff to take part in a short survey to tell us what it has been like to cope with trying to prevent the spread of infection in care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete, and if you leave your contact details, we will enter your name into a prize draw for the chance to win one of five £10 Amazon gift vouchers.

To complete the survey, please click on this link.

We would also like to interview some care home staff by telephone or online. Online platforms may be Zoom, Microsoft Teams or WhatsApp, but others may be available. The choice will depend on what you prefer and whether the researcher has access to the same technology. If you are interested in this part please contact Dr Julii Brainard (j.brainard@uea.ac.ukor Dr Diane Bunn (d.bunn@uea.ac.uk) at the University of East Anglia for further information.”

This study is funded by the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emergency Preparedness at the University of East Anglia.

Hannah Flack, Communications Administrator for THIS Institute (The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute) at University of Cambridge, would like to draw your attention to a fellowship opportunity.  

The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute (THIS Institute) is launching a new fellowship to coproduce a vision for high quality primary care for people who live in care homes, and to identify how it might be implemented and achieved within current resources and structures.

The fellowship is suitable for applicants who are currently in post at UK universities or other research intensive environments. Applicants should be experienced and skilled qualitative researchers who can lead the project independently while sustaining excellent relationships with collaborators, patients and families, clinicians, and wider health service stakeholders.”

Deadline for applications is midday, 22 January 2021 

To find out more click here