'Widespread misperceptions' around COVID-19

A survey has found, while on average the public have a clear view of the seriousness of the health threat of COVID-19, this masks the fact sizeable minorities are still underestimating the threat.

The survey of 2,250 UK residents by King's College London, in partnership with Ipsos MORI, was conducted from 1-3 April 2020.

It found there were still 'widespread misperceptions' around the virus, including:

  • A quarter believe the conspiracy theory that the virus was probably created in a lab
  • One in seven think people are more likely to die from seasonal flu
  • One in ten believe they should visit elderly relatives to check on them
  • Four in ten believe they should be shopping 'little and often'

Other key findings included:

  • Half of people say they have felt more anxious or depressed as a result of coronavirus
  • People are more likely to agree than disagree that the government's response has been confused and inconsistent
  • Nine in ten people support the current measures

The survey also found how people understand the realities and see likely futures are related to their actions and attitudes.

For example, the 25% of people who think coronavirus was probably created in a lab are more than twice as likely to have met up with friends during lockdown and to think too much fuss is being made.

To read a full report on the survey findings, click on the link below.

King's College London

NICE publishes new rapid COVID-19 guidelines

NICE has published two new rapid guidelines on the care of patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19.

The first covers the management of disorders of the digestive system (gastrointestinal and liver conditions) that are treated with drugs affecting the immune response.

The second covers the care of people in hospital who develop heart problems (acute myocardial injuries) as a consequence of COVID-19 infection.


Understanding concerns about the mental health impact of COVID-19

A report examining the mental health impact of COVID-19 following two online surveys has found significant themes of anxiety and isolation.

The report was collated by Katherine Cowan, on behalf of MQ: Transforming Mental Health and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

In order to understand the most pressing concerns, issues and unmet needs around mental health and COVID-19 from the perspectives of people with lived experience of mental illness and the general population, two online surveys were undertaken:

  • A stakeholder survey of people with lived experience of mental health problems and their supporters, healthcare professionals, researchers and the general public with an interest in the topic
  • A nationally representative general population survey

Anxiety and isolation were dominant themes in both surveys.

Key themes in the stakeholder survey included concerns over becoming mentally unwell due to the pressures of COVID-19, access to mental health support and the impact on family and relationships.

The surveys also asked what people were doing to help their mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.

The range of actions and activities included staying connected, keeping busy, physical activity and maintaining routine.

Some stakeholder respondents also said they were managing their media intake. 

Some were minimising their access to news and social media, in order to reduce their levels of anxiety. Some drew comfort from simply following the official guidance. 

To read the report in full, click on the link below.

Academy of Medical Sciences

NHS login hits one million registered users

More than a million people have now registered with NHS login following an upsurge in demand for digital services during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to NHS Digital, the first week in April saw a peak in the number of applications for NHS logins with more than 60,000 new IDs verified between 30 March and 5 April.

Several new tools have been incorporated into the NHS login system to help meet the increased demand, including automated identity checking for Android users.

NHS Digital

Easy read coronavirus terms

Easy Read Online has released an easy-read glossary of coronavirus-related terms.

The glossary, which is free to download, includes explanations of terms including 'basic necessities', 'flattening the curve' and 'immunity'.

Click on the link below to download the glossary.

Easy Read Online

Podcast: COVID-19 and what to expect from your doctor

The ALLIANCE is producing a series of podcasts for people living with long term conditions, disabled people and unpaid carers during the coronavirus pandemic.

In this podcast, Eilidh Carmichael, policy officer at the General Medical Council, explains what people can expect from doctors during the crisis.

As well as a recording of the podcast, ALLIANCE has also published a full transcript. Both are available by clicking on the link below.


Tips to support people with dementia and carers in lockdown

Join Dementia Research has published five tips to support people with dementia and their carers during lockdown.

The project was led by Professor Linda Clare, of the University of Exeter Medical School, and part-funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The leaflet, created using research and the input of people affected by dementia, gives practical and self-help tips on five key points:

  • Staying safe and well
  • Staying connected
  • Keeping a sense of purpose
  • Staying active
  • Staying positive

Each is informed by concerns expressed by people with dementia through partner networks such as Alzheimer’s Society, Innovations in Dementia and the DEEP network.

Join Dementia Research

Time for digital tech to be embedded in maternity care

In this article, Dr Lucy Mackillop, a consultant obstetric physician at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and chief medical officer of Sensyne Health, explores how digital tools can help expectant mothers and their partners during the coronavirus pandemic.

She argues this crisis will profoundly change the way healthcare is delivered in the UK and there is a 'real opportunity' to make care more efficient and, potentially, improved.

Digital Health

Webinars: Safely sharing information between health and social care

The Professional Records Standards Body (PRSB) is hosting a series of webinars to help it develop national standards for safely sharing information between social and health care.

In total there will be four webinars spanning the different areas of focus for which information standards are needed. 

A key area of focus is  ‘about me’ – important information a person wants to share about themselves with their carer or health or care professional.

The four webinars are as follows:

  • Shared information between health, social care and local authorities, Thursday 7 May
  • Referral information – what information needs to be shared following a referral from hospital for additional care and support – Thursday 14 May
  • About Me information – what vital, personal information do people and their carers want to be shared, –Tuesday 19 May
  • 'RedBag' information – what information is needed when a person is transferred urgently from care home to hospital – Thursday 21 May

For more information, and to register for the webinars, click on the link below.


Study: Experiences of the diabetes prevention programme in England

A study into stakeholders' perceptions and experiences of the NHS' diabetes prevention programme in England has identified factors influencing participation and implementation.

Through semi-structured phone interviews, the authors concluded risk communication at referral, the perceived impact of the programme and behavioural maintenance influenced participation.

For example, service users highlighted the positive perceived impact on their behaviour change, the peer support provided by participating in the programme, the option to involve a relative and the ‘knock on’ effect on others. 

Factors influencing implementation included case finding, adaptability, accountability and fidelity.

The authors concluded better risk communication specification could ensure consistency at the referral stage and improve participation. 

Cultural adaptations and outreach strategies could ensure the programme contributes to reducing health inequalities. 

BMC Health Services Research

Study: A serious game for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity

Researchers have developed and evaluated a motion-controlled serious game for children addressing three core topics of nutrition, physical activity, and stress coping.

The game, intended to provide an additional educational component for the prevention and treatment of obesity in children, extensively targets the dietary energy density principle (DED-P) in relation to nutrition. 

The Kids Obesity Prevention study aimed to evaluate the newly developed game and how well children are able to understand and apply the DED-P.

Authors concluded the program sustainably increased knowledge in the areas of nutrition and stress coping and found children were able to apply the DED-P.


Quality in Care (QiC) Diabetes awards

Quality in Care (QiC) Diabetes is now open for entries.

The awards recognise, reward and share innovative practice demonstrating quality in diabetes management, education and services for people with diabetes and their families, throughout the UK.

The deadline for entries is Thursday 2 July. Click on the link below for more information and to enter.

QiC Diabetes

Webinar: Health inequalities

National Voices is hosting a webinar discussing health inequalities during COVID-19 and after the crisis.

The webinar will feature speakers from Charity So White and Public Health England.

It will take place from 11am to noon on Friday 1 May.

To view the agenda and register, click on the link below.

National Voices