Researching the long-term impact
Tackling the wider impacts of the pandemic on health, social care and society
Following the first peak of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve led new research into the wider health and social care consequences of COVID-19. This includes focusing on the long-term physical and psychological impacts on patients, and the NHS workforces caring for them. It also provides new evidence to tackle deep-rooted impacts on health and social care organisations, to help better manage current and future waves of the virus.
NIHR researchers were among the first to reveal the extent of both post-hospitalised and non-hospitalised patients with Long-COVID. Our Living With COVID dynamic themed review cast the spotlight on this phenomenon, drawing on expert evidence and patients’ experiences, to better understand how health and social care services should tackle it.
The £8.4m Post-hospitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID) study, was funded in partnership with UKRI. The study draws on expertise from a consortium of leading UK researchers and clinicians, to understand and improve long-term health outcomes for hospitalised patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Their findings will support the search for new treatments, and the development of care pathways to help patients recover. This includes looking at how individual characteristics influence recovery, such as gender or ethnicity.
Recovery and learning
We’ve funded nine new research projects worth £5.5m, investigating long term impacts of COVID-19. Research ranges from piloting digital devices to improve tracking and tracing in care homes, to new support systems to help frontline healthcare professionals deal with their stressful and high pressure roles. Experts are also investigating the best use of antibiotics among COVID-19 patients, generating evidence tackling global threats of both the virus, and antimicrobial resistance.
To shed light on the impacts of the pandemic on mental health, we’ve invested £2m into six new research projects, jointly funded with UKRI. The research, which will look into ways of alleviating the impacts, focuses on three-at-risk groups:
- healthcare workers,
- children and younger people
- those with serious mental health problems
Our research infrastructure is running a number of surveys to understand how people are coping during the pandemic. Findings from the COVID-19 Supporting Parents, Adolescents, and Children in Epidemics (Co-SPACE) survey reveal how stress, depression and anxiety has increased among parents and carers during lockdown.
Researchers are tracking children and young people’s mental health throughout the crisis to identify new advice and support. The Repeated Assessment of Mental health in Pandemics (RAMP) study is examining factors affecting people’s risk and resilience to mental health problems, and the Coronavirus Outbreak Psychological Experiences (COPE) Study aims to understand similarities and differences in the ways the pandemic affects people with and without lived experience of mental ill health.
An online register of COVID-19 mental health studies is also being collated, to help coordinate and facilitate high-quality collaborative mental health research.