Impact of COVID-19 on Social Support Services for People with Dementia

CASP components are important to be included efficiently in order to review the article and represent the findings and methods of analysing the research topic. Through the CASP components, it is possible to evaluate the background of the study, aims and objective of the research where the main focus of the study is to analyse the impact of COVID-19 related social support service closures on people with dementia and unpaid carers.

Background

Theoretical basis

The theoretical basis of the study is effective where the researcher is able to review the current situation of the COVID 19 pandemic where the people living with dementia (PLWD) and unpaid carers cannot get the effective health and social care services from the peer care workers. Due to lock down and social distancing, the care givers cannot provide effective services to the PLWD and unpaid carers, and this raise the issue related to physical and mental health among the people (Martyr et al., 2018). COVID 19 has caused sudden closures and there are radical modifications of these care services due to lock down and social distancing, where face to face interactions and providing treatment cannot be arranged in the care home (Giebel et al., 2021). The standard of living of the PLWD and unpaid carers has also been deteriorated (Canevelli et al., 2020).

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Literature

The literature review is important for the research in order to understand the feedback of the PLWD and unpaid carers. Social theories and behavioural theories must be discussed in this study. However, the researchers did not develop good literature review for further in depth analysis and evaluation. Through the theoretical background and discussing the current situation, the researchers mainly try to meet the research aim and objectives.

Research aim

The aim of the study is to explore the effects of COVID-19 on the social care and social support service closures among the lives of PLWD and unpaid carers.

Objectives

The objectives of the study are such as,

To exploring the impacts of COVID 19 on the health and social care workers

To review the perspectives of PLWD and unpaid carers during the closure of care services

To evaluate the wellbeing of the PLWD and unpaid carers after such pandemic era

To suggest better practice for providing care services to the PLWD and unpaid carers during the recent critical pandemic situation

Methodology

Research approach

Deductive research approach is being chosen by the researcher where the researcher reviews the background of the study and collects the authentic data and information directly for the participants. The researcher also focuses on social research and analyse the practical perspectives of the respondents for drawing ultimate conclusion and meeting the study aim.

Participants and sampling

Random sampling is being chosen to empower the participants in the study for gathering their feedback and understanding their perception on the COVID 19 outbreak and closure of the social care services. The sample size was 50, where 42 participants are unpaid workers and remaining 8 respondents are PLWD.

Ethics

The research is conducted in ethical manner where the researchers are able to collect authentic data, empower the participants and provide them consent form before their responds. The researcher is also able to protect he gathered data from the PLWD and unpaid workers through Data Protection Act 1998.

Reliability and validity

Reliability and validity of the data and information are also maintained well in the research. Demographic characteristics including household Index of Multiple Deprivation score and weekly hours of social support service usage during COVID-19 outbreak were also collected. Paired samples t-tests was utilised for comparing the mean of weekly hours of social support service usage.

Data collection method

The data are collected through primary data collection method and chosen method of gathering data and information is interview. The researchers arranged semi structured interview with the participants for understanding their perception.

Data analysis

Data analysis is being conducted through thematic analysis, which is mainly qualitative data analysis process for evaluating the interview transcript. The PLWD and unpaid workers are empowered during the interview process and they have freedom to share their views about closure of the social care services in such pandemic situation.

Results

Findings

There are 76% female participants and the dementia types are also different including Alzheimer’s disease dementia, Lewy body dementia and vascular dementia with unpaid carers. The major themes for representing the findings are loss of control, uncertainty and adapting and having to adapt to the new normal (Lauritzen et al., 2019). As per the findings, most of the participants agree that there is loss of control where their regular routine cannot be maintained. PLWD appeared to lack the mental stimulation (Giebel et al., 2021). The people who are physically restricted at home, they cannot be engaged with social activities such as walking, dancing and other physical activities for which here is loss of control among the individuals. Additionally, there is uncertainty in coping up with the social care activities, as the people forgot the activities and the people that met during the social interactions sessions, due to such COVID 19 outbreak and the social care service closure (Giebel et al., 2021). Due to the shutdown of the care homes, it becomes difficult to engage with the dementia patients and treat them continuously through communication and cooperation. Due to lock down and social distancing, the older people are feeling depressed and alone at home as well as the people suffering from dementia are also feeling alone with physical and mental stimulation. adapting and having to adapt to the new normal is the third theme and as per the findings, the PLWD and unpaid workers focus on new measures for accessing the care services so that they can engage with friends and family members and participate in thee physical activities and social engagement sessions (Giebel et al., 2021).

Discussion

Not only has the lockdown created higher distress for the people with dementia, the care worker are also concerned about deterioration of the living condition of the people, due to depression, physical on activity and mental stimulation (Giebel et al., 2021). The paid care givers are empowered by the family and friends for taking care of the people with dementia (Sutcliffe et al., 2017). The non-paid workers cannot access the services of the peer care givers and it is mandatory for the health and social care service sector to review the policy framework and introduce remote working practice to support the PLWD (Verbeek et al., 2020). Raised uncertainty about the well-being of the PLWD due to closure of the social care service and it is high time to support them and engage them in the physical activities and social engagement classes for helping them to lead a normal life and overcome their issues (Giebel et al., 2021).

Conclusions

Conclusions

The effectives of COVID-19 pandemic-related public health measures and closures of social support services on the lives of PLWD and unpaid carers and through the analysis, it has been explored that, there is negative impacts of closure of the social care services on the people who are suffering from dementia. It is important to review the policy in such pandemic situation, where it may restrict the numbers of people accessing the social care services, and it is mandatory to develop compensating services with flexible solutions. The solutions must be related to improving remote support system, utilising digital technology for providing continuous care and support to the people with dementia and unpaid carers, flexibility in getting care and treatment and continuous engagement through communication over telephone. These activities would be able to boost the accessibility of the care and support for the vulnerable groups with high needs of dementia care and continuous guidance.

Future avenues

The study is effective for further researches in future, as it is the first study where the PLWD and unpaid carers are empowered to share their opinion after such COVID 19 pandemic outbreak. The impacts of the COVID 19 on the health and social services was negative as there is closure of the social care services, for which the PLWD and unpaid carers cannot get effective care and treatment. Through the study, it is possible to review the perception of the PLWD and unpaid carers which will provide a scope to other future researchers to conduct more in depth analysis on the health and social care services available for the people suffering from dementia.

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Strengths

The main strength of the study is that the PLWD and unpaid carers are getting empowered in the research where their information and feedback are important for in depth critical evaluation. Through reviewing their perception, it is possible to analyse the impacts of pandemic era on the social support service closure which is important for the PLWD and unpaid carers. The thematic analysis is also helpful for analysing the interview transcript and analyse their perception critically. The major themes of the research are loss of control, uncertainty and adapting and having to adapt to the new normal.

Limitations

The major limitation of the study is lack of literature review, for which the researchers fail to represent the theoretical background. There is lack of information about social theories and behavioural approaches of the people with dementia. Additionally, there is lack of theoretical background and information about dementia treatment and care, which are essential for in depth analysis and evaluation.

Reference List

Canevelli, M., Valletta, M., Toccaceli Blasi, M., Remoli, G., Sarti, G., Nuti, F., ... Bruno, G., 2020. Facing dementia during the COVID-19 outbreak. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 68(8), pp.1673–1676.

Giebel, C., Cannon, J., Hanna, K., Butchard, S., Eley, R., Gaughan, A., Komuravelli, A., Shenton, J., Callaghan, S., Tetlow, H. and Limbert, S., 2021. Impact of COVID-19 related social support service closures on people with dementia and unpaid carers: a qualitative study. Aging & Mental Health, 25(7), pp.1281-1288.

Lauritzen, J., Bjerrum, M. B., Pedersen, P. U., and Sorensen, E. E., 2019. Support groups for carers of a person with dementia who lives at home: A focused ethnographic study. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 75(11), pp.2934–2942.

Martyr, A., Nelis, S. M., Quinn, C., Wu, Y.-T., Lamont, R. A., Henderson, C., ... Clare, L., 2018. Living well with dementia: A systematic review and correlational meta-analysis of factors associated with quality of life, well-being and life satisfaction in people with dementia. Psychological Medicine, 48(13), pp.2130–2139.

Sutcliffe, C., Giebel, C., Bleijlevens, M., Lethin, C., Stolt, M., Saks, K., ... Challis, D., 2017. Caring for a person with dementia on the margins of long-term care: A perspective on burden from 8 European countries. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 18(11), pp.967–973.

Verbeek, H., Gerritsen, D. L., Backhaus, R., de Boer, B. S., Koopmans, R. T. C. M., & Hamers, J. P. H., 2020. Allowing visitors back in the nursing home during the COVID-19 crisis: A Dutch national study into first experiences and impact on well-being. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 21(7), pp.900–904.


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