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  • Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospital episodes for falls and fractures associated with new-onset disability and frailty in England: A national cohort study

    Morriss, Richard K. (2024)
    BACKGROUND: Older people with frailty are at risk of harm from immobility or isolation, yet data about how COVID-19 lockdowns affected them are limited. Falls and fractures are easily measurable adverse outcomes correlated with frailty. We investigated whether English hospital admission rates for falls and fractures varied from the expected trajectory during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how these varied by frailty status. METHODS: NHS England Hospital Episode Statistics Admitted Patient Care data were analysed for observed versus predicted outcome rates for 24 January 2020 to 31 December 2021. An auto-regressive integrated moving average time-series model was trained using falls and fracture incidence data from 2013 to 2018 and validated using data from 2019. Models included national and age-, sex- and region-stratified forecasts. Outcome measures were hospital admissions for falls, fractures, and falls and fractures combined. Frailty was defined using the Hospital Frailty Risk Score. RESULTS: 144,148,915 pre-pandemic hospital admissions were compared with 42,267,318 admissions after pandemic onset. For the whole population, falls and fracture rates were below predicted for the first period of national lockdown, followed by a rapid return to rates close to predicted. Thereafter, rates followed expected trends. For people living with frailty, however, falls and fractures increased above expected rates during periods of national lockdown and remained elevated throughout the study period. Effects of frailty were independent of age. CONCLUSIONS: People living with frailty experienced increased fall and fracture rates above expected during and following periods of national lockdown. These remained persistently elevated throughout the study period.
  • The impact of reduced routine community mental healthcare on people from minority ethnic groups during the COVID-19 pandemic: Qualitative study of stakeholder perspectives

    Franklin, Donna (2024)
    BACKGROUND: Enduring ethnic inequalities exist in mental healthcare. The COVID-19 pandemic has widened these. AIMS: To explore stakeholder perspectives on how the COVID-19 pandemic has increased ethnic inequalities in mental healthcare. METHOD: A qualitative interview study of four areas in England with 34 patients, 15 carers and 39 mental health professionals from National Health Service (NHS) and community organisations (July 2021 to July 2022). Framework analysis was used to develop a logic model of inter-relationships between pre-pandemic barriers and COVID-19 impacts. RESULTS: Impacts were largely similar across sites, with some small variations (e.g. positive service impacts of higher ethnic diversity in area 2). Pre-pandemic barriers at individual level included mistrust and thus avoidance of services and at a service level included the dominance of a monocultural model, leading to poor communication, disengagement and alienation. During the pandemic remote service delivery, closure of community organisations and media scapegoating exacerbated existing barriers by worsening alienation and communication barriers, fuelling prejudice and division, and increasing mistrust in services. Some minority ethnic patients reported positive developments, experiencing empowerment through self-determination and creative activities. CONCLUSIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic some patients showed resilience and developed adaptations that could be nurtured by services. However, there has been a reduction in the availability of group-specific NHS and third-sector services in the community, exacerbating pre-existing barriers. As these developments are likely to have long-term consequences for minority ethnic groups' engagement with mental healthcare, they need to be addressed as a priority by the NHS and its partners.
  • Para-infectious brain injury in COVID-19 persists at follow-up despite attenuated cytokine and autoantibody responses

    Kyaw, Sandar (2023)
    To understand neurological complications of COVID-19 better both acutely and for recovery, we measured markers of brain injury, inflammatory mediators, and autoantibodies in 203 hospitalised participants; 111 with acute sera (1-11 days post-admission) and 92 convalescent sera (56 with COVID-19-associated neurological diagnoses). Here we show that compared to 60 uninfected controls, tTau, GFAP, NfL, and UCH-L1 are increased with COVID-19 infection at acute timepoints and NfL and GFAP are significantly higher in participants with neurological complications. Inflammatory mediators (IL-6, IL-12p40, HGF, M-CSF, CCL2, and IL-1RA) are associated with both altered consciousness and markers of brain injury. Autoantibodies are more common in COVID-19 than controls and some (including against MYL7, UCH-L1, and GRIN3B) are more frequent with altered consciousness. Additionally, convalescent participants with neurological complications show elevated GFAP and NfL, unrelated to attenuated systemic inflammatory mediators and to autoantibody responses. Overall, neurological complications of COVID-19 are associated with evidence of neuroglial injury in both acute and late disease and these correlate with dysregulated innate and adaptive immune responses acutely. Copyright © 2023, The Author(s).
  • SARS-CoV-2 infection and cognition in community-dwelling and nursing home residents in southern Switzerland

    Sabatini, Serena (2023)
    BACKGROUND: COVID-19 patients can report 'brain fog' and may exhibit cognitive symptoms for months after recovery (Cognitive COVID). However, evidence on whether and the extent to which SARS-CoV-2 infection impacts cognition irrespective of COVID-19 course and severity is limited to clinical samples and mainly comes from prognostic studies. We aimed to explore the association between serologically confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and cognitive functioning in community-based and institutionalized older adults, irrespective of COVID-19 symptoms. METHODS: We conducted a case-control study nested into two cohorts in Southern Switzerland. Eligible subjects were Italian speaking older adults, without a previous diagnosis of dementia, who underwent serological testing for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies between November 2020 and July 2021. We manually selected age-, sex- and education-matched cases (i.e., individuals with a serologically confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection), with seronegative controls, and we conducted in-person neuropsychological assessments using validated, highly sensitive cognitive tests. RESULTS: We completed 38 neuropsychological assessments in a mostly female sample of older adults (Mean age: 83.13 ± 8.95; 86.8% women). 17 were community dwelling individuals while 21 lived in a nursing home. As expected, socio-demographic characteristics of age, gender and educational level were similarly distributed between cases (n = 14) and controls (n = 24). In linear regression models, cases had significantly lower scores in cognitive tasks of memory (β = -0.367, p = 0.023), attention (β = 0.428, p = 0.008) and executive functions (β = 0.326, p = 0.046). We found no significant difference in tests of language and spatial-temporal orientation (all p values > 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with cognitive impairment in memory, attention, and executive functions in older adults. Our findings are consistent with mechanistic evidence of the neurotropism of the virus and provide empirical support for the "Cognitive COVID" construct also in non-clinical samples. With nearly 800 million COVID-19 cases (in April 2023), and many more infections worldwide, the clinical and public health implications of Cognitive COVID due to SARS-CoV-2 infection may be massive and warrant further epidemiological investigations.
  • The #longcovid revolution: A reflexive thematic analysis

    Perez Vallejos, Elvira (2023)
    Research has identified long COVID as the first virtual patient-made condition (Callard and Perego, 2021). It originated from Twitter users sharing their experiences using the hashtag #longcovid. Over the first two years of the pandemic, long COVID affected as many as 17 million people in Europe (WHO, 2023). This study focuses on the initial #longcovid tweets in 2020 (as previous studies have focused on 2021-2022), from the first tweet in May to August 2020, when the World Health Organization recognised the condition. We collected over 31,000 tweets containing #longcovid from Twitter. Using Braun and Clarke's reflexive thematic analysis (2020), informed by the first author's experience of long COVID and drawing on Ian Hacking's perspective on social constructionism (1999), we identified different grades of social constructionism in the tweets. The themes we generated reflected that long COVID was a multi-system, cyclical condition initially stigmatised and misunderstood. These findings align with existing literature (Ladds et al., 2020; Rushforth et al., 2021). We add to the existing literature by suggesting that Twitter users raised awareness of long COVID by providing social consensus on their long COVID symptoms. Despite the challenge for traditional evidence-based medicine to capture the varied and intermittent symptoms, the social consensus highlighted that these variations were a consistent and collective experience. This social consensus fostered a collective social movement, overcoming stigma through supportive tweets and highlighting their healthcare needs using #researchrehabrecognition. The #longcovid movement's work was revolutionary, as it showed a revolutionary grade of social constructionism, because it brought about real-world change for long COVID sufferers in terms of recognition and the potential for healthcare provisions. Twitter users' accounts expose the limitations of traditional evidence-based medicine in identifying new conditions. Future research on novel conditions should consider various research paradigms, such as Evidence-Based Medicine Plus (Greenhalgh et al., 2022).
  • "I felt like I had been put on the shelf and forgotten about" - lasting lessons about the impact of COVID-19 on people affected by rarer dementias

    Gerritzen, Esther V. (2023)
    BACKGROUND: The public health measures imposed in many countries to contain the spread of COVID-19 resulted in significant suspensions in the provision of support and care for people with dementia. The negative effects of these measures have been extensively reported. However, little is known about the specific impact on people with young onset, non-memory-led and inherited dementias. This group may have experienced different challenges compared to those with late onset dementia given their non-memory phenotypes and younger age. We explored the impact of the first COVID-19 lockdown on people living with familial Alzheimer's disease, behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, familial frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, posterior cortical atrophy and primary progressive aphasia and their carers in the UK and their self-reported strategies for coping. METHODS: This was a mixed methods study. An online survey was administered to people with dementia and family carers recruited via Rare Dementia Support. Free-text responses were analysed using framework analysis to identify key issues and themes. RESULTS: 184 carers and 24 people with dementia completed the survey. Overall, people with dementia experienced worsening of cognitive symptoms (70%), ability to do things (62%), well-being (57%) and changes to medication (26%) during lockdown. Carers reported a reduction in the support they received (55%) which impacted their own mental health negatively. Qualitative analysis of free-text responses shed light on how the disruption to routines, changes to roles and responsibilities, and widespread disconnection from friends, family and health and social care support varied according to phenotype. These impacts were exacerbated by a more general sense that precious time was being lost, given the progressive nature of dementia. Despite significant challenges, respondents demonstrated resilience and resourcefulness in reporting unexpected positives and strategies for adapting to confinement. CONCLUSIONS: This study has highlighted the specific impacts of the COVID-19 restrictions on people with young onset, non-memory-led and inherited dementias, including behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, primary progressive aphasia and posterior cortical atrophy, and their carers. The specific challenges faced according to diagnosis and the self-reported strategies speak to the importance of - and may inform the development of - tailored support for these underrepresented groups more generally.
  • The use of telemedicine in forensic psychiatry-a quick scoping review of literature from the time of the COVID-19 pandemic

    Palfreman, Carly (2023)
    The aim of this scoping review was to examine some of the literature regarding telemedicine use relating to forensic mental healthcare that had been published since the start of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with a view to ascertaining current thinking. A search identified 8 relevant pieces of recent literature that explored this subject. Particular themes were discovered throughout the literature relating to the following topics: pre-COVID experience, accessibility, adoption, staff attitudes, patient attitudes, effectiveness, technological factors, safety, legal and ethical issues, and patient suitability. Despite the wide implementation of videoconferencing facilities for remote consultations, there is concern regarding the lack of clinical and legal guidelines and formal training available to professionals. There is also an obvious lack of quantitative research in the recent use of remote consultations.
  • Use and uptake of technology by people with dementia and their supporters during the COVID-19 pandemic

    Craven, Michael P. (2023)
    OBJECTIVE: This rapid review aims to identify the types of technologies used by people with dementia and their supporters during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the issues which influenced technology adoption within their usual care routines. METHODS: PubMed, PsychInfo, Scopus, and Cochrane COVID reviews were searched to identify peer-review studies published since 2020. A total of 18 studies were included and synthesised thematically. RESULTS: Of these, most were conducted in the community (n = 15) with people with dementia only (n = 11) and involved qualitative methods (n = 11). The majority (n = 12) focused on digital off-the-shelf and low-cost solutions, such as free video conferencing platforms, to access care, socialise or take part in interventions. Whilst often well-accepted and associated with positive outcomes (such as improved social connectedness), lack of digital literacy or support to use technologies, limited access to appropriate technology, individuals' physical, cognitive, or sensory difficulties, were highlighted and likely to threaten the adoption of these solutions. The quality of the evidence was mixed, neither very robust nor easily generalisable which may be attributed to the challenges of conducting research during the pandemic or the need to rapidly adapt to a new reality. CONCLUSION: While COVID-19 has fast-tracked the adoption of technology, its use is likely to continue beyond the pandemic. We need to ensure this technology can leverage dementia support and care and that people with dementia are enabled and empowered to use it.
  • Mental health in clinically referred children and young people before and during the Covid-19 pandemic

    Sayal, Kapil; Ewart, Colleen (2022)
    The Covid-19 pandemic and mitigation approaches, including lockdowns and school closures, are thought to have negatively impacted children and young people's (CYP) mental health. However, the impact for clinically referred CYP is less clear. We investigated differences in the mental health of CYP referred to specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) before and since the onset of the pandemic. Using baseline data (self- and parent- completed Mood and Feelings Questionnaire and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) from an ongoing RCT (STADIA; ISRCTN: 15748675) in England involving 5-17-year-olds with emotional difficulties recently referred to CAMHS (non-urgent referrals), with repeated cross-sectional comparisons of CYP (n = 1028) recruited during 5 different time periods: (1) Before schools were closed (Group 1 (pre-pandemic); n = 308; 27.08.2019-20.03.2020). (2) Early pandemic period until schools fully re-opened, which included the first national lockdown, its easing and the summer holidays (Group 2 (in-pandemic); n = 183; 21.03.2020-31.08.2020). (3) The following school-term-schools fully re-opened and remained open, including during the second national lockdown (Group 3 (in-pandemic); n = 204; 01.09.2020-18.12.2020). (4) Schools closed as part of the third national lockdown (Group 4 (in-pandemic); n = 101; 05.01.2021-07.03.2021). (5) Schools re-opened and remained open, until the school summer holidays (Group 5 (in-pandemic); n = 232; 08.03.2021-16.07.2021). Most CYP scored above cutoff for emotional problems and depression, with three-quarters meeting criteria for a probable disorder ('caseness'). The groups did not differ on parent-rated mental health measures. However, self-rated emotional problems, depression, functional impairment and caseness appeared to be higher amongst participants recruited in the two periods following school re-openings. In particular, functional impairment and caseness were greater in Group 5 compared with Group 2. Although symptom severity or impairment did not change in the initial pandemic period, self-reported difficulties were greater during the periods after schools re-opened. This suggests possible greater stresses in the adjustment to re-starting school following recurrent lockdowns and school closures.
  • Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on incidence of tics in children and young people: a population-based cohort study

    Hall, Charlotte L.; Hollis, Chris P. (2023)
    BACKGROUND: Since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, clinicians have reported an increase in presentations of sudden and new onset tics particularly affecting teenage girls. This population-based study aimed to describe and compare the incidence of tics in children and young people in primary care before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in England. METHODS: We used information from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) Aurum dataset and included males and females aged 4-11 years and 12-18 years between Jan 1, 2015, and Dec 31, 2021. We grouped the pre-pandemic period (2015-2019) and presented the pandemic years (2020, 2021) separately. We described the characteristics of children and young people with a first record of a motor or vocal tic in each time period. Incidence rates of tics by age-sex groups in 2015-2019, 2020, and 2021 were calculated. Negative binomial regression models were used to calculate incidence rate ratios. FINDINGS: We included 3,867,709 males and females aged 4-18 years. Over 14,734,062 person-years of follow-up, 11,245 people had a first tic record during the whole study period. The characteristics of people with tics differed over time, with the proportion of females aged 12-18 years and the proportion with mental health conditions including anxiety increasing during the pandemic. Tic incidence rates per 10,000 person-years were highest for 4-11-year-old males in all three time periods (13.4 [95% confidence interval 13.0-13.8] in 2015-2019; 13.2 [12.3-14.1] in 2020; 15.1 [14.1-16.1] in 2021) but increased markedly during the pandemic in 12-18-year-old females, from 2.5 (2.3-2.7) in 2015-2019, to 10.3 (9.5-11.3) in 2020 and 13.1 (12.1-14.1) in 2021. There were smaller increases in incidence rates in 12-18-year-old males (4.6 [4.4-4.9] in 2015-2019; 4.7 [4.1-5.3] in 2020; 6.2 [5.5-6.9] in 2021) and 4-11-year-old females (4.9 [4.7-5.2] in 2015-2019; 5.7 [5.1-6.4] in 2020; 7.6 [6.9-8.3] in 2021). Incidence rate ratios comparing 2020 and 2021 with 2015-2019 were highest in the 12-18-year-old female subgroup (4.2 [3.6-4.8] in 2020; 5.3 [4.7-6.0] in 2021). INTERPRETATION: The incidence of tics in children and young people increased across all age and sex groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a differentially large effect in teenage girls (a greater than four-fold increase). Furthermore, in those with tic symptoms, proportions with mental health disorders including anxiety increased during the pandemic. Further research is required on the social and contextual factors underpinning this rise in onset of tics in teenage girls. FUNDING: National Institute for Health Research Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre.
  • Factors influencing COVID-19 health protective behaviours in Zambian university students with symptoms of low mood

    Davies, E. Bethan; Glazebrook, Cris (2023)
    BACKGROUND: Health protective behaviours are crucial in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, particularly in university students who typically live and study in large groups. Depression and anxiety are common in students and can impact young people's motivations to follow health advice. The study aims to assess the relationship between mental health and COVID-19 health-protective behaviours in Zambian university students with symptoms of low mood. METHODS: The study was a cross-sectional, online survey of Zambian university students. Participants were also invited to take part in a semi-structured interview to explore views about COVID-19 vaccination. Invitation emails were sent explaining the study aims and directed students who self-identified as having low mood in the past two weeks to an online survey. Measures included COVID-19 preventive behaviours, COVID-19-related self-efficacy, and Hospital and Anxiety Depression scale. RESULTS: A total of 620 students (n=308 female, n=306 male) participated in the study, with a mean participant age of 22.47±3.29 years (range 18-51). Students reported a mean protective behaviour score of 74.09/105 and 74% scored above the threshold for possible anxiety disorder. Three-way ANOVA showed lower COVID-19 protective behaviours in students with possible anxiety disorder (p=.024) and those with low self-efficacy (p<0.001). Only 168 (27%) said they would accept vaccination against COVID-19, with male students being twice as likely to be willing to accept COVID-19 vaccination (p<0.001). Of 50 students interviewed. 30 (60%) expressed fears about the vaccination and 16 (32%) were concerned about a lack of information. Only 8 (16%) participants expressed doubts about effectiveness. CONCLUSION: Students who self-identify as having symptoms of depression have high levels of anxiety. The results suggest that interventions to reduce anxiety and promote self-efficacy might enhance students' COVID-19 protective behaviours. Qualitative data provided insight into the high rates of vaccine hesitancy in this population.
  • Parenchymal lung abnormalities following hospitalisation for COVID-19 and viral pneumonitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

    Xia, Jun (2023)
    INTRODUCTION: Persisting respiratory symptoms in COVID-19 survivors may be related to development of pulmonary fibrosis. We assessed the proportion of chest CT scans and pulmonary function tests consistent with parenchymal lung disease in the follow-up of people hospitalised with COVID-19 and viral pneumonitis. METHODS: Systematic review and random effects meta-analysis of proportions using studies of adults hospitalised with SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV or influenza pneumonia and followed up within 12 months. Searches performed in MEDLINE and Embase. Primary outcomes were proportion of radiological sequelae on CT scans; restrictive impairment; impaired gas transfer. Heterogeneity was explored in meta-regression. RESULTS: Ninety-five studies (98.9% observational) were included in qualitative synthesis, 70 were suitable for meta-analysis including 60 SARS-CoV-2 studies with a median follow-up of 3 months. In SARS-CoV-2, the overall estimated proportion of inflammatory sequelae was 50% during follow-up (0.50; 95% CI 0.41 to 0.58; I(2)=95%), fibrotic sequelae were estimated in 29% (0.29; 95% CI 0.22 to 0.37; I(2)=94.1%). Follow-up time was significantly associated with estimates of inflammatory sequelae (-0.036; 95% CI -0.068 to -0.004; p=0.029), associations with fibrotic sequelae did not reach significance (-0.021; 95% CI -0.051 to 0.009; p=0.176). Impaired gas transfer was estimated at 38% of lung function tests (0.38 95% CI 0.32 to 0.44; I(2)=92.1%), which was greater than restrictive impairment (0.17; 95% CI 0.13 to 0.23; I(2)=92.5%), neither were associated with follow-up time (p=0.207; p=0.864). DISCUSSION: Sequelae consistent with parenchymal lung disease were observed following COVID-19 and other viral pneumonitis. Estimates should be interpreted with caution due to high heterogeneity, differences in study casemix and initial severity.
  • Healthcare workers' views on mandatory SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in the UK: A cross-sectional, mixed-methods analysis from the UK-REACH study

    Simpson, Sandra (2022)
    Background: Several countries now have mandatory SARS-CoV-2 vaccination for healthcare workers (HCWs) or the general population. HCWs' views on this are largely unknown. Using data from the nationwide UK-REACH study we aimed to understand UK HCW's views on improving SARS-CoV-2 vaccination coverage, including mandatory vaccination. Method(s): Between 21st April and 26th June 2021, we administered an online questionnaire via email to 17 891 UK HCWs recruited as part of a longitudinal cohort from across the UK who had previously responded to a baseline questionnaire (primarily recruited through email) as part of the United Kingdom Research study into Ethnicity And COVID-19 outcomes in Healthcare workers (UK-REACH) nationwide prospective cohort study. We categorised responses to a free-text question "What should society do if people do not get vaccinated against COVID-19?" using qualitative content analysis. We collapsed categories into a binary variable: favours mandatory vaccination or not, using logistic regression to calculate its demographic predictors, and its occupational, health, and attitudinal predictors adjusted for demographics. Finding(s): Of 5633 questionnaire respondents, 3235 answered the free text question. Median age of free text responders was 47 years (IQR 36-56) and 2705 (74.3%) were female. 18% (n = 578) favoured mandatory vaccination (201 [6%] participants for HCWs and others working with vulnerable populations; 377 [12%] for the general population), but the most frequent suggestion was education (32%, n = 1047). Older HCWs (OR 1.84; 95% CI 1.44-2.34 [>=55 years vs 16 years to <40 years]), HCWs vaccinated against influenza (OR 1.49; 95% CI 1.11-2.01 [2 vaccines vs none]), and with more positive vaccination attitudes generally (OR 1.10; 95% CI 1.06-1.15) were more likely to favour mandatory vaccination, whereas female HCWs (OR= 0.79, 95% CI 0.63-0.96, vs male HCWs) and Black HCWs (OR=0.46, 95% CI 0.25-0.85, vs white HCWs) were less likely to. Interpretation(s): Only one in six of the HCWs in this large, diverse, UK-wide sample favoured mandatory vaccination. Building trust, educating, and supporting HCWs who are hesitant about vaccination may be more acceptable, effective, and equitable. Funding(s): MRC-UK Research and Innovation grant (MR/V027549/1) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Core funding was also provided by NIHR Biomedical Research Centres.
  • Developing an mHealth intervention to reduce COVID-19-associated psychological distress among health care workers in Nigeria: Protocol for a design and feasibility study

    Seun-Fadipe, Champion T. (2022)
    BACKGROUND: Globally, COVID-19-related psychological distress is seriously eroding health care workers' mental health and well-being, especially in low-income countries like Nigeria. The use of mobile health (mHealth) interventions is now increasingly recognized as an innovative approach that may improve mental health and well-being. This project aims to develop an mHealth psychological intervention (mPsyI) to reduce COVID-19-related psychological distress among health care workers in Nigeria. OBJECTIVE: Our objective is to present a study protocol to determine the level of COVID-19-related psychological distress among health care workers in Nigeria; explore health care workers' experience of COVID-19-related psychological distress; develop and pilot test mPsyI to reduce this distress; and assess the feasibility of this intervention (such as usability, engagement, and satisfaction). METHODS: A mixed (quantitative and qualitative) methods approach is used in which health care workers will be recruited from 2 tertiary health care facilities in southwest Nigeria. The study is divided into 4 phases based on the study objectives. Phase 1 involves a quantitative survey to assess the type and levels of psychosocial distress. Phase 2 collects qualitative data on psychosocial distress among health care workers. Phase 3 involves development of the mHealth-based psychological intervention, and phase 4 is a mixed methods study to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention. RESULTS: This study was funded in November 2020 by the Global Effort on COVID-19 Health Research, and collection of preliminary baseline data started in July 2021. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to report the development of an mHealth-based intervention to reduce COVID-19-related psychological distress among health care workers in Nigeria. Using a mixed methods design in this study can potentially facilitate the adaptation of an evidence-based treatment method that is culturally sensitive and cost-effective for the management of COVID-19-related psychological distress among health care workers in Nigeria.
  • Stroke and TIA survivors' perceptions of the COVID-19 vaccine and influences on its uptake: Cross sectional survey

    Kontou, Eirini (2022)
    Background: People who have experienced a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) have greater risks of complications from COVID-19. Therefore, vaccine uptake in this vulnerable population is important. To prevent vaccine hesitancy and maximise compliance, we need to better understand individuals' views on the vaccine. Objective(s): We aimed to explore perspectives of the COVID-19 vaccine and influences on its uptake from people who have experienced a stroke or TIA. Method(s): A cross-sectional, electronic survey comprising multiple choice and free text questions. Convenience sampling was used to recruit people who have experienced a stroke/TIA in the UK/Ireland. Result(s): The survey was completed by 377 stroke/TIA survivors. 87% (328/377) had either received the first vaccine dose or were booked to have it. The vaccine was declined by 2% (7/377) and 3% (11/377) had been offered the vaccine but not yet taken it up. 8% (30/377) had not been offered the vaccine despite being eligible. Some people expressed concerns around the safety of the vaccine (particularly risk of blood clots and stroke) and some were hesitant to have the second vaccine. Societal and personal benefits were motivations for vaccine uptake. There was uncertainty and lack of information about risk of COVID-19 related complications specifically for people who have experienced a stroke or TIA. Conclusion(s): Despite high uptake of the first vaccine, some people with stroke and TIA have legitimate concerns and information needs that should be addressed. Our findings can be used to identify targets for behaviour change to improve vaccine uptake specific to stroke/TIA patients
  • Determinants for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the general population: a systematic review of reviews

    Kafadar, Aysegul H.; Jones, Katy A.; Stephan, Blossom C. M.; Dening, Tom (2022)
    AIM: Although multiple COVID-19 vaccines are approved for global use, vaccine hesitancy poses a substantial risk for global health. Therefore, the aim of this umbrella review is to identify those factors that influence COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy in the general population. This is necessary to improve the effectiveness of future vaccination programmes. METHODS: PubMed, Embase, Scopus, PsycInfo, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Epistemonikos, and PROSPERO (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews) were searched on December 21, 2021. This review included reviews which investigated factors of intention, willingness, or hesitancy with regard to the COVID-19 vaccination in adult populations, with no restrictions on setting. Content-based structure was used to synthesise the extracted data. The findings were presented based on the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) Working Group Model for vaccine hesitancy. RESULTS: A total of 3,392 studies were identified, of which 31 met the inclusion criteria. The most frequently documented factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy included contextual factors, such as sex, age, and social inequalities; individual and group factors, such as trust in the healthcare system, public health authorities, and governments, and history of vaccination; vaccine-specific factors, such as concern for vaccine safety, perceived vaccine barriers, perceived effectiveness of vaccines, and concern about the rapid development of the vaccine; and disease-specific factors, such as fear of being infected with COVID-19, perceived severity of COVID-19, and knowledge of COVID-19. CONCLUSION: There are multiple factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Our findings lay the foundation to further understand COVID-19 vaccination uptake and provide possible targets for intervention programmes. However, there are gaps in research concerning certain populations, including vaccination in people with mental disorders. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10389-022-01753-9.
  • Changing to remote psychological therapy during COVID-19: Psychological therapists' experience of the working alliance, therapeutic boundaries and work involvement

    James, Georgina; Schroder, Thomas (2022)
    Research aims This study aimed to investigate psychological therapists' perceived ability to form a working alliance and maintain therapeutic boundaries, and their work involvement patterns whilst working remotely via telephone or videoconferencing. Furthermore, the study aimed to explore therapists' experience of therapeutic boundaries when working remotely and how they managed these. Method A mixed-method sequential explanatory design was adopted. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse quantitative data, with thematic analysis used to analyse qualitative data. Results In total, 161 psychological therapists completed an online survey, and 12 participants were selected using maximum variation sampling to engage in a semi-structured interview. Although results between therapists varied, some perceived abilities regarding the working alliance and therapeutic boundaries differed when working remotely compared to face-to-face therapy. Therapists' work involvement patterns also differed compared to existing data for face-to-face therapy, indicated by increased rates of stressful involvement. Considering therapists' experience of therapeutic boundaries, four overarching themes were identified: 'different boundaries in remote therapy', 'work home boundary', 'changes in the therapeutic safe space' and 'impact of boundaries when working remotely'. Conclusions Aspects of the working alliance and therapeutic boundaries are experienced differently by therapists working remotely, which relates to how they experience their work. The findings have clinical implications for increasing therapists' awareness of potential changes in their perceived abilities regarding the working alliance and therapeutic boundaries when working remotely, therefore, enabling them to address these changes where required. Future research possibilities are considered.
  • COVID-19 and multiple sclerosis: An updated report of the community-based longitudinal UK MS Register study

    das Nair, Roshan (2021)
    COVID-19 is a concern in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), mostly because of their long-term physical disabilities and immunomodulatory disease-modifying therapies (DMTs). In this community-based pro- spective longitudinal study, we have been monitoring a cohort of people with MS via the web-based platform of the UK MS Register since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. We report our findings from 17/03/2020 to 15/01/2021.Out of 7344 participants, 883 (12%) have reported a self-diagnosis of COVID-19 of whom 211 had a confirmed clinical or laboratory-based (n=114) diagnosis. No individual DMT increased the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 (with any of the diagnoses as the outcome). Gender (male: female, adjusted OR: 95% CI [0.94: 0.68–1.3]), web-based Expanded Disability Status Scale score (webEDSS; one-point increase, 0.92: 0.84–1.01), and MS duration (one-year increase, 1: 0.98–1.02) were not associated with contracting COVID-19. Younger age (one-year decrease, 1.04: 1.03–1.06), ethnicities other than white (1.95: 1.13–3.34), and relapsing-remitting MS (versus progressive, 1.72: 2.56–1.16) increased the likelihood of contracting COVID-19. Within a median (interquartile range) of 26 (0–72) days follow-up of participants with COVID-19 (n=532), 69% reported full recovery. A higher webEDSS (one-point increase, 0.84: 0.74–0.96) lowered the likelihood of full recovery. Overall, MS-specific factors do not predispose people with MS to contracting COVID-19, but physical disability can delay recovery.
  • Insights on conducting digital patient and public involvement in dementia research during the COVID-19 pandemic: supporting the development of an "E-nabling digital co-production" framework

    Craven, Michael P. (2022)
    BACKGROUND: The rapid transition to digital working, accelerated due to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has impacted the involvement of patients and public in research. This paper presents experiences of engaging in digital Patient and Public Involvement (e-PPI) in dementia research since the lockdowns, offering recommendations regarding future digital and hybrid working. Furthermore, it introduces a co-produced framework for researchers, PPI coordinators and public contributors to identify and discuss challenges and opportunities provided by e-PPI. METHODS: Two online workshops and one individual interview were performed with a group of researchers and PPI coordinators with experience in PPI in dementia research, and with an existing dementia PPI group having some experience of working online during the pandemic. The project was constructed as a PPI activity, with the MindTech Involvement Team (PPI group) involved in the entire process, and a collaborative data analysis process was adopted. RESULTS: After refinement of the coding structure, the MindTech Involvement Team and Project Leaders identified four main themes, resulting in the 'E-nabling Digital Co-production' Framework. During this framework development, different positions were expressed, associated with the transition to digital working. Two main themes were shared by the participating groups regarding e-PPI: wider potential reach without geographical constraints, and the perception of more business-like sessions with reduced opportunities for social interactions and communication. Specifically for dementia research, whilst e-PPI may allow public contributors to attend more meetings, potentially mutually supportive environments provided by face-to-face meetings could be diminished, with carers experiencing a possible reduction in informal respite opportunities. CONCLUSIONS: Through involving public contributors, researchers, and PPI coordinators with a focus on digital PPI in dementia research, we were able to further refine and co-produce the 'E-nabling Digital Co-production' Framework. Demonstrating potential for analysis of benefits and limitations within e-PPI, it was possible to identify both general insights and those specific to dementia research. However, the most significant contribution of the framework is the potential to support local journeys of co-production in ongoing digital and hybrid public involvement activities. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the engagement of patients and the public in research. Lockdowns, social distancing, and reduced physical contact have affected the involvement of public contributors in research studies. In particular, the pandemic triggered a rapid transition to digital working, increasing the use of Information and Communication Technologies such as video conferencing on computers and mobile devices. With little time to reflect on the consequences of digital working in PPI and with a continuing legacy of hybrid or blended approaches to involvement, this project highlights the challenges and potential for e-PPI approaches (electronic/digital PPI) within the context of dementia research. In addition to examining the transition to digital working in this area, we present a co-produced framework for researchers, PPI coordinators and public contributors.
  • Service evaluation of COVID and non-COVID admission trends to an East Midlands general adolescent psychiatric inpatient unit

    Tan, Sue Fen; Chand, Parveen (2022)
    Aims: To explore the differences in admissions between the first COVID-19 lockdown cohort and a pre-COVID-19 cohort. Methods: 23 young people who were admitted to an East Midlands General Adolescent Inpatient Unit during the first COVID-19 lockdown from March 2020 to September 2020 were compared with the 48 young people who were admitted in the same period in 2019. Demographic details, admission duration and reasons, mental health act (MHA) status, diagnoses, functional status, and incidents were obtained retrospectively from the trust's online records. Results: The unit received more female admissions prior to lockdown (60.4% Vs 47.8%). Approximately 30% of adolescents in the pre-COVID-19 group were not in education whereas those admitted during COVID-19 were all receiving education. More of the pre-COVID-19 group attended school than college and more of the COVID-19 group were employed, consistent with a lower mean age of admission in the former group. Most of the COVID-19 admissions were local and none were out of area. Young people were also more likely to be looked after by their parents during COVID-19 (82.6%) and none were taken care of by their relatives. Pre-COVID019 admissions were discharged sooner than their counterparts, which had 13% of admissions between 6–9 months. Both cohorts had mainly informal admissions due to risk to self. Most of the COVID-19 admissions were due to anxiety, followed by self-harm while the majority of pre-COVID-19 admissions were due to depression and PTSD. 43% of the COVID-19 admissions had at least one comorbid diagnosis, notably depression. More adolescents in the COVID-19 cohort were not started on any psychiatric medication during and after admission. The mean number of incidents were two times higher in the COVID-19 group; self-harm was the most common reason. There was more violence towards staff during lockdown. However, absconsion, possession of contraband items, and staff error were higher in the pre-COVID-19 group. Conclusion: The introduction of COVID-19 restrictions was associated with a change in both the frequency and nature of inpatient admissions to this ward. Less young people were admitted during COVID-19, more frequently with anxiety as the primary reason and stayed for longer. Although the pre-COVID-19 group received more psychiatric medication, it is unclear if this contributed to a better functional status overall. This service evaluation also demonstrated the impact of COVID-19 on young people's mental health and life circumstances. An exploration of these trends in other units across the country would increase the generalisability of results.

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