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1.
Pilot Feasibility Stud ; 8(1): 41, 2022 Feb 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1817283

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: With increasing numbers of people living with dementia relying on family to care for them at home, there is an urgent need for practical and evidence-based programs to support carers in maintaining their mental health and well-being. The objective of this study was to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of a modified STrAtegies for RelaTives (START) program delivered online (START-online). METHOD: A mixed-methods non-blinded evaluation of START-online (using Zoom as videoconferencing platform) for acceptability and feasibility (completion rates and qualitative feedback through surveys and focus groups) and quantitative evaluation. This occurred at the National Ageing Research Institute, in metropolitan Victoria, Australia. RESULTS: Twenty-nine eligible carers were referred, 20 (70%) consented to the study. Of these, 16 (80%) completed all 8 sessions, 2 completed only 3 sessions, and 2 withdrew. Carers' qualitative feedback indicated that the therapist interaction was valued, content and online delivery of the program was acceptable. Feedback was mixed on the appropriate stage of caring. CONCLUSION: START-online was feasible and acceptable for carers, including those living outside of metropolitan areas who might otherwise be unable to access face-to-face programs. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic necessitating social distancing to avoid infection, interventions such as this one have increasing relevance in the provision of flexible services.

2.
BJPsych Open ; 8(2): e63, 2022 Mar 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731559

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) disease (COVID-19) has high morbidity and mortality in older adults and people with dementia. Infection control and prevention measures potentially reduce transmission within hospitals. AIMS: We aimed to replicate our earlier study of London mental health in-patients to examine changes in clinical guidance and practice and associated COVID-19 prevalence and outcomes between COVID-19 waves 1 and 2 (1 March to 30 April 2020 and 14 December 2020 to 15 February 2021). METHOD: We collected the 2 month period prevalence of wave 2 of COVID-19 in older (≥65 years) in-patients and those with dementia, as well as patients' characteristics, management and outcomes, including vaccinations. We compared these results with those of our wave 1 study. RESULTS: Sites reported that routine testing and personal protective equipment were available, and routine patient isolation on admission occurred throughout wave 2. COVID-19 infection occurred in 91/358 (25%; 95% CI 21-30%) v. 131/344, (38%; 95% CI 33-43%) P < 0.001 in wave 1. Hospitals identified more asymptomatic carriers (26/91; 29% v. 16/130; 12%) and fewer deaths (12/91; 13% v. 19/131; 15%; odds ratio = 0.92; 0.37-1.81) compared with wave 1. The patient vaccination uptake rate was 49/58 (85%). CONCLUSIONS: Patients in psychiatric in-patient settings, mostly admitted without known SARS-CoV-2 infection, had a high risk of infection compared with people in the community but lower than that during wave 1. Availability of infection control measures in line with a policy of parity of esteem between mental and physical health appears to have lowered within-hospital COVID-19 infections and deaths. Cautious management of vulnerable patient groups including mental health patients may reduce the future impact of COVID-19.

3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-321863

ABSTRACT

BackgroundEmpathy is fundamental to social cognition, driving prosocial behaviour and mental health. Self-reported empathy varies across cultures and there are differing reports of associations with demographic characteristics. We therefore aimed in a UK survey to characterise two main self-reported components of empathy, namely empathic concern (feeling compassion) and perspective taking (understanding others’ perspective). We hypothesised that empathy would be associated with age, gender, ethnicity, relationship status, employment, socio-economic status, education, and personality.MethodsWe asked participants in the COVID-19 Social Study - an internet-based survey of UK-dwelling adults aged ≥18 years - to complete the Interpersonal Reactivity Index subscales measuring empathic concern and perspective taking, and sociodemographic and personality questionnaires. We weighted the sample to be UK population representative and employed multivariable weighted linear regression models.ResultsIn 30,033 respondents, mean empathic concern score was 3.86 (95% confidence interval 3.85, 3.88) and perspective taking was 3.57 (3.56. 3.59), the correlation between these subscores was 0.45 (p <0.001). In adjusted models, greater empathic concern was associated with female gender, non-white ethnicity, having more education, working in health, social-care, or childcare professions, and having higher neuroticism, extroversion, openness to experience and agreeableness traits. Perspective taking was associated with younger age, female gender, more education, employment in health or social-care, neuroticism, openness, and agreeableness.ConclusionsWomen and people working in caring professions have higher empathy levels. Perspective taking declines with age but empathic concern does not. Empathic compassion and understanding are distinct dimensions of empathy with differential associations with demographic factors.

4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-315761

ABSTRACT

Background: With increasing numbers of people living with dementia relying on family to care for them at home, there is an urgent need for practical and evidence-based programs to support carers in maintaining their mental health and well-being. The objective of this study was to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of a modified STrAtegies for RelaTives (START) program delivered online (START-online). Method: A mixed methods non-blinded evaluation of START-online (using Zoom as videoconferencing platform) for acceptability and feasibility (completion rates and qualitative feedback through surveys and focus groups) and quantitative evaluation. This occurred at the National Ageing Research Institute, in metropolitan Victoria, Australia. Results: : Twenty-nine eligible carers were referred, 20 (70%) consented to the study. Of these 16 (80%) completed all eight sessions, two completed only three sessions, and two withdrew. Carers’ qualitative feedback indicated that the therapist interaction was valued, content and online delivery of the program was acceptable. Feedback was mixed on the appropriate stage of caring. Conclusion: START-online was feasible and acceptable for carers, including those living outside of metropolitan areas who might otherwise be unable to access face-to-face programs. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic necessitating social distancing to avoid infection, interventions such as this one have increasing relevance in the provision of flexible services.

5.
Trials ; 22(1): 865, 2021 Dec 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1551222

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Most people living with dementia want to remain living in their own homes and are supported to do so by family carers. No interventions have consistently demonstrated improvements to people with dementia's life quality, functioning, or other indices of living as well as possible with dementia. We have co-produced, with health and social care professionals and family carers of people with dementia, a new intervention (NIDUS-family). To our knowledge, NIDUS-family is the first manualised intervention that can be tailored to personal goals of people living with dementia and their families and is delivered by facilitators without clinical training. The intervention utilizes components of behavioural management, carer support, psychoeducation, communication and coping skills training, enablement, and environmental adaptations, with modules selected to address dyads' selected goals. We will evaluate the effect of NIDUS-family and usual care on goal attainment, as measured by Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) rated by family carers, compared to usual care alone at 12-month follow-up. We will also determine whether NIDUS-family and usual care is more cost-effective than usual care alone over 12 months. METHODS: A randomised, two-arm, single-masked, multi-site clinical trial involving 297 people living with dementia-family carer dyads. Dyads will be randomised 2:1 to receive the NIDUS-family intervention with usual care (n = 199) or usual care alone (n = 98). The intervention group will be offered, over 1 year, via 6-8 video call or telephone sessions (or face to face if COVID-19 restrictions allow in the recruitment period) in the initial 6 months, followed by telephone follow-ups every 1-2 months to support implementation, with a trained facilitator. DISCUSSION: Increasing the time lived at home by people living with dementia is likely to benefit lives now and in the future. Our intervention, which we adapted to include remote delivery prior to trial commencement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, aims to address barriers to living as well and as independently as possible that distress people living with dementia, exacerbate family carer(s) stress, negatively affect relationships, lead to safety risks, and frequently precipitate avoidable moves to a care home. TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trials Number ISRCTN11425138 . Registered on 7 October 2019.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Dementia , Caregivers , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Dementia/diagnosis , Dementia/therapy , Humans , Pandemics , Psychosocial Intervention , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2
6.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0257557, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430540

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Empathy is fundamental to social cognition, driving prosocial behaviour and mental health but associations with aging and other socio-demographic characteristics are unclear. We therefore aimed to characterise associations of these characteristics with two main self-reported components of empathy, namely empathic-concern (feeling compassion) and perspective-taking (understanding others' perspective). METHODS: We asked participants in an internet-based survey of UK-dwelling adults aged ≥18 years to complete the Interpersonal Reactivity Index subscales measuring empathic concern and perspective taking, and sociodemographic and personality questionnaires. We weighted the sample to be UK population representative and employed multivariable weighted linear regression models. RESULTS: In 30,033 respondents, mean empathic concern score was 3.86 (95% confidence interval 3.85, 3.88) and perspective taking was 3.57 (3.56. 3.59); the correlation between these sub-scores was 0.45 (p < 0.001). Empathic concern and perspective taking followed an inverse-u shape trajectory in women with peak between 40 and 50 years whereas in men, perspective taking declines with age but empathic concern increases. In fully adjusted models, greater empathic concern was associated with female gender, non-white ethnicity, having more education, working in health, social-care, or childcare professions, and having higher neuroticism, extroversion, openness to experience and agreeableness traits. Perspective taking was associated with younger age, female gender, more education, employment in health or social-care, neuroticism, openness, and agreeableness. CONCLUSIONS: Empathic compassion and understanding are distinct dimensions of empathy with differential demographic associations. Perspective taking may decline due to cognitive inflexibility with older age whereas empathic concern increases in older men suggesting it is socially-driven.


Subject(s)
Empathy , Socioeconomic Factors , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Cross-Sectional Studies , Democracy , Educational Status , Female , Humans , Internet , Male , Middle Aged , Personality , Surveys and Questionnaires , United Kingdom
7.
Lancet Psychiatry ; 8(10): 929-936, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1415873

ABSTRACT

Informal (unpaid) carers are an integral part of all societies and the health and social care systems in the UK depend on them. Despite the valuable contributions and key worker status of informal carers, their lived experiences, wellbeing, and needs have been neglected during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this Health Policy, we bring together a broad range of clinicians, researchers, and people with lived experience as informal carers to share their thoughts on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK carers, many of whom have felt abandoned as services closed. We focus on the carers of children and young people and adults and older adults with mental health diagnoses, and carers of people with intellectual disability or neurodevelopmental conditions across different care settings over the lifespan. We provide policy recommendations with the aim of improving outcomes for all carers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Caregivers/psychology , Health Policy/legislation & jurisprudence , Health Services Needs and Demand/legislation & jurisprudence , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Caregivers/economics , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Health Services Needs and Demand/trends , Humans , Intellectual Disability/epidemiology , Intellectual Disability/psychology , Life Change Events , Male , Mental Disorders/epidemiology , Mental Disorders/psychology , Morbidity/trends , Neurodevelopmental Disorders/epidemiology , Neurodevelopmental Disorders/psychology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Social Support , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Young Adult
8.
EClinicalMedicine ; 39: 101047, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330779

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 prevention and control policies have entailed lockdowns and confinement. This study aimed to summarize the global research evidence describing the effect of COVID-19 isolation measures on the health of people living with dementia. METHODS: We searched Pubmed, PsycINFO and CINAHL up to 27th of February 2021 for peer-reviewed quantitative studies about the effects of isolation during COVID-19 on the cognitive, psychological and functional symptoms of people with dementia or mild cognitive impairment. The Joanna Briggs Institute critical appraisal tool was used to conduct the quality assessment. PROSPERO registration: CRD42021229259. FINDINGS: 15 eligible papers were identified, examining a total of 6442 people with dementia. 13/15 studies investigated people living in the community and 2 in care homes. Out of 15 studies, 9 (60%) reported changes in cognition and 14 (93%) worsening or new onset of behavioral and psychological symptoms. Six studies (46%) reported a functional decline in daily activities in a variable proportion of the population analyzed. INTERPRETATION: COVID-19 isolation measures have damaged the cognitive and mental health of people with dementia across the world. It is urgent to issue guidance that balances infection control measures against the principles of non-maleficence to guarantee fair and appropriate care during pandemic times for this population.

9.
Int J Geriatr Psychiatry ; 36(11): 1748-1758, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1293170

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on older adults mental health care. Our study aimed to explore staff perspectives on key challenges and innovations in order to help inform the delivery of older adults mental health care in subsequent waves of the pandemic. METHODS: A mixed methods online questionnaire developed by National Institute for Health Research Mental Health Policy Research Unit was used to gather staff perspectives on their challenges at work, problems faced by service users and their carers, and sources of help and support. Descriptive statistics were used for quantitative analysis and descriptive content analysis for qualitative analysis. RESULTS: 158 participants, working in either community or inpatient settings, and from a range of professional disciplines, were included. For inpatient staff, a significant challenge was infection control. In the community, staff identified a lack of access to physical and social care as well as reduced contact with friends and families as being challenges for patients. Remote working was seen as a positive innovation along with COVID-19 related guidance from various sources and peer support. CONCLUSION: Our study, with a focus on staff and patient well-being, helps to inform service development for future waves of the pandemic. We discuss measures to improve infection control in inpatient settings, the role of voluntary organisations in supporting socially isolated community patients, the need for better integration of physical and mental health services at an organisational level, and the importance of training staff to support patients and their families with end of life planning.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mental Health Services , Aged , Caregivers , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Int J Geriatr Psychiatry ; 36(11): 1597-1639, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1233187

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: In response to a commissioned research update on dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic, a UK-based working group, comprising dementia researchers from a range of fields and disciplines, aimed to describe the impact of the pandemic on dementia wellbeing and identify priorities for future research. METHODS: We supplemented a rapid literature search (including unpublished, non-peer reviewed and ongoing studies/reports) on dementia wellbeing in the context of COVID-19 with expert group members' consensus about future research needs. From this we generated potential research questions the group judged to be relevant that were not covered by the existing literature. RESULTS: Themes emerged from 141 studies within the six domains of the NHS England COVID-19 Dementia Wellbeing Pathway: Preventing Well, Diagnosing Well, Treating Well, Supporting Well, Living Well and Dying Well. We describe current research findings and knowledge gaps relating to the impact on people affected by dementia (individuals with a diagnosis, their carers and social contacts, health and social care practitioners and volunteers), services, research activities and organisations. Broad themes included the potential benefits and risks of new models of working including remote healthcare, the need for population-representative longitudinal studies to monitor longer-term impacts, and the importance of reporting dementia-related findings within broader health and care studies. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionately negative impact on people affected by dementia. Researchers and funding organisations have responded rapidly to try to understand the impacts. Future research should highlight and resolve outstanding questions to develop evidence-based measures to improve the quality of life of people affected by dementia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Dementia , Consensus , Dementia/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Psychol Med ; : 1-10, 2021 Jan 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065747

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic led to measures that reduced social contact and support. We explored whether UK residents with more frequent or supportive social contact had fewer depressive symptoms during March-August 2020, and potential factors moderating the relationship. METHODS: A convenience sample of UK dwelling participants aged ⩾18 in the internet-based longitudinal COVID-19 Social Study completed up to 22 weekly questionnaires about face-to-face and phone/video social contact frequency, perceived social support, and depressive symptoms using the PHQ-9. Mixed linear models examined associations between social contact and support, and depressive symptoms. We examined for interaction by empathic concern, perspective taking and pre-COVID social contact frequency. RESULTS: In 71 117 people with mean age 49 years (standard deviation 15), those with high perceived social support scored 1.836 (1.801-1.871) points lower on PHQ-9 than those with low support. Daily face-to-face or phone/video contact was associated with lower depressive symptoms (0.258 (95% confidence interval 0.225-0.290) and 0.117 (0.080-0.154), respectively) compared to no contact. The negative association between social relationships and depressive symptoms was stronger for those with high empathic concern, perspective taking and usual sociability. CONCLUSIONS: We found during lockdown that those with higher quality or more face-to-face or phone/video contact had fewer depressive symptoms. Contact quality was more strongly associated than quantity. People who were usually more sociable or had higher empathy had more depressive symptoms during enforced reduced contact. The results have implications for COVID-19 and potential future pandemic management, and for understanding the relationship between social factors and mental health.

12.
Lancet Psychiatry ; 7(12): 1054-1063, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-967853

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: People living in group situations or with dementia are more vulnerable to infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Older people and those with multimorbidity have higher mortality if they become infected than the general population. However, no systematic study exists of COVID-19-related outcomes in older inpatients in psychiatric units, who comprise people from these high-risk groups. We aimed to describe the period prevalence, demographics, symptoms (and asymptomatic cases), management, and survival outcomes of COVID-19 in the older inpatient psychiatric population and people with young-onset dementia in five National Health Service Trusts in London, UK, from March 1 to April 30, 2020. METHODS: In this retrospective observational study, we collected demographic data, mental health diagnoses, clinical diagnosis of COVID-19, symptoms, management, and COVID-19-related outcome data of inpatients aged 65 years or older or with dementia who were already inpatients or admitted as inpatients to five London mental health Trusts between March 1 and April 30, 2020, and information about available COVID-19-related resources (ie, testing and personal protective equipment). Patients were determined to have COVID-19 if they had a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test, or had relevant symptoms indicative of COVID-19, as determined by their treating physician. We calculated period prevalence of COVID-19 and analysed patients' characteristics, treatments, and outcomes. FINDINGS: Of 344 inpatients, 131 (38%) were diagnosed with COVID-19 during the study period (period prevalence 38% [95% CI 33-43]). The mean age of patients who had COVID-19 was 75·3 years (SD 8·2); 68 (52%) were women and 47 (36%) from ethnic minority groups. 16 (12%) of 131 patients were asymptomatic and 121 (92%) had one or more disease-related comorbidity. 108 (82%) patients were compulsorily detained. 74 (56%) patients had dementia, of whom 13 (18%) had young-onset dementia. On average, sites received COVID-19 testing kits 4·5 days after the first clinical COVID-19 presentation. 19 (15%) patients diagnosed with COVID-19 died during the study period, and their deaths were determined to be COVID-19 related. INTERPRETATION: Patients in psychiatric inpatient settings who were admitted without known SARS-CoV-2 infection had a high risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 compared with those in the community and had a higher proportion of deaths from COVID-19 than in the community. Implementation of the long-standing policy of parity of esteem for mental health and planning for future COVID-19 waves in psychiatric hospitals is urgent. FUNDING: None.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Dementia/epidemiology , Dementia/therapy , Outcome Assessment, Health Care/statistics & numerical data , Psychiatric Department, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/physiopathology , Comorbidity , Dementia/physiopathology , Female , Humans , London/epidemiology , Male , Prevalence , Retrospective Studies
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