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Social Care During COVID-19: Coping with Self-Isolation and Social Distancing

Explore and learn to manage the impact of self-isolation and social distancing on yourself and vulnerable social groups.

4,560 enrolled on this course

Two women wearing face masks sat down. The younger woman is handing the older woman a plastic bag

Learn coping strategies to respond to the impact of COVID-19 social distancing

The increase in anxiety and uncertainty due to COVID-19 is placing increased pressure on the social care workforce, as well as those receiving help.

This pandemic has highlighted a need for enhanced social care within communities, such as individuals relying on neighbors and local services.

On this course, you’ll explore the impact of self-isolation and social distancing on social care, as well as the added vulnerabilities that COVID-19 may create.

You’ll make sense of your experiences, gain different perspectives, and explore ways of coping with the challenges of living in a pandemic when you’re giving or relying on social care.


  • Week 1

    Surviving Isolation: The Need for Certainty

    • Introducing Ourselves and the Course

      Learners are invited to introduce themselves to their peers. The course creators share their reflections and hopes for the design of the programme and we provide an overview of the content.

    • Change Curve: The Three Phases and Five Stages of Change

      We share the Change Curve, tracking the three phases and five stages of change, considered by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. This model will be introduced each week, to invite us to evaluate the impact of change.

    • Case Study: Angela and Chrissy

      We are introduced to Angela and Chrissy and the first of four conversations between them, about their experiences of the pandemic.

    • Four Stages of Pandemic Response

      We are introduced to a model that reflects four stages of our emotional, cognitive and social responses to a pandemic. These comprise of Survival, Sense Making, Acceptance and Growth.

    • Preparing to End Week One

      These exercises bring the week to an end and invite you to reflect on your learning and look forward to next week.

  • Week 2

    Sense Making: The Quest for Understanding

    • Welcome to Week 2: Catching up with Angela and Chrissy

      We introduce the theme of week two and catch up with Angela and Chrissy's stories, since we last saw them.

    • Exploring the Impact of Change

      This activity will invite learners to explore the impact of unwanted change through a visualisation exercise and noting your responses to viewing some art work.

    • Four Stages of Pandemic Response

      This week we refer back to the model which we introduced in week one and look at the stage of Sense Making

    • Possible Reactions to a Pandemic

      A table is shared which categorises a range of possible reactions people have to a pandemic. It invites learners to evaluate their own responses and share some of these with others.

    • Preparing to End Week Two

      These exercises provide an opportunity to reflect on the learning from the session and share with your peers. We then look forward to week three.

  • Week 3

    Making Meaning: The Search for Acceptance

    • Welcome to Week 3: Catching up with Angela and Chrissy

      We introduce the theme of week three and catch up with Angela and Chrissy's stories.

    • Four Stages of Pandemic Response

      In week one we introduced this model and looked at the Survival stage. Last week we explored the Sense Manging stage and the week we consider the Acceptance stage.

    • The Impact of the Pandemic on Social Workers

      This activity provides an opportunity to watch a video of a social worker talking about her observations of the impact of the pandemic on social workers, their practice and the people they support.

    • Preparing to End Week Three

      These exercises give us the opportunity to consider how the session has resonated with us before we look forward to week four.

  • Week 4

    Resilience and Growth: Imagining the Future

    • Welcome to Week 4: Catching up with Angela and Chrissy

      We introduce the theme of week four and catch up with Angela and Chrissy to hear about their experiences this week.

    • Four Stages of Pandemic Response

      In week 1 we introduced this model and have been focusing on a different stage each week. In week 1 we looked at Survival, in week 2 we considered Sense Making and last week we explored Acceptance. This week we look at Growth.

    • Poem: And the People Stayed Home...

      This prose poem by Kitty O'Meara depicts a reflection from a future perspective, inviting us to imagine the pandemic in the distant past.

    • Appreciating Our Experiences

      This activity introduces the model of Appreciative Inquiry and invites us to evaluate the present and consider our hopes for the future.

    • Preparing to End Week Four

      This session provides some opportunities to reflect on the learning from the session and the whole course. We consider what you would like to share with peers and what you will take away.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore some of the current and future changes for society and the social care workforce in particular, brought about by self-isolation and social distancing, since the onset of COVID-19
  • Identify a range of reactions people may have to a global pandemic or crises
  • Explore the concept of ‘vulnerability’ and how this may be defined within the context of self-isolation and social distancing
  • Explore how the impact of a pandemic affects individuals differently at different times and what some of these differences and circumstances may be
  • Identify the reactions and impacts of self-isolation and social distancing, which are particular to yourself individually
  • Explore ways of addressing the impact of factors such as self-isolation and social distancing for yourself and others
  • Explore a range of coping strategies to help yourself or others to address the impact of self-isolation and social distancing
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of a range of coping strategies on yourself and others
  • Discuss with others interested in the impact of self-isolation and social distancing on those connected to the social care workforce
  • Reflect on the learning from the course and what this might help you with in the future as the landscape of COVID-19 unfolds

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for social care professionals, including residential, domiciliary, and home-based carers.

It will also be useful for anyone struggling with self-isolation and social distancing who would like to learn how to address their feelings and develop coping strategies.

Who will you learn with?

I am a social worker and senior lecturer at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. I am interested in the emotional and psycho-social landscape of social work practice.

I work at the Tavistock & Portman NHS FT as a Clinical Psychologist for the Team Around the Practice (TAP) and Curriculum Developer in the trust's Directorate of Education & Training.

I work at the Tavistock & Portman NHS FT as Portfolio Manager for Social Care, Leadership in the trust's Directorate of Education & Training and as an organisational and leadership consultant.

Who developed the course?

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

For 100 years, the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has been at the forefront of bringing new approaches to treating those who are in mental distress.


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  • Access to ALL eligible short courses
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  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

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One-off payment

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  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
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  • Limited access to course content for 4 weeks

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