COVID-19 Research

Disability Inclusion

Disability-inclusive response to COVID-19

Based on our previous research and rapid assessments, ICED developed information to promote a disability-inclusive response to COVID-19. The resources include articles, commentaries and letters. ICED also has co-founded COVID resource hubs. Below you will find this information on a disability-inclusive COVID response. 

Disability-inclusive COVID-19 response: What it is, why it is important and what we can learn from the United Kingdom’s response

In this open letter, researchers at ICED outline the importance of a disability-inclusive COVID-19 response.

Read the letter

Disability-inclusive responses to COVID-19: Lessons learnt from research on social protection in low- and middle-income countries

This paper draws from literature on disability, poverty and social protection in low- and middle-income countries to explore how social protection and other initiatives to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic should consider the needs of people with disabilities, with recommendations for disability-inclusive actions.

Read the article 

Read the evidence brief 

Considering disability in COVID-19 hygiene promotion programmes

These reports, compiled by ICED's Jane Wilbur, outline the need and methods to ensure that people with disabilities are included in COVID-19 hygiene promotion programmes

Including people with disabilities, older adults, and their caregivers in COVID-19 prevention programmes

What are the key considerations for including people with disabilities in COVID-19 hygiene promotion programmes?

Summary report on considering disability and ageing in COVID-19 hygiene promotion programmes 

How can organisations assess whether COVID-19 response programmes are inclusive? 

COVID-19 Inclusive WASH Checklist

Shifting the focus to functioning: essential for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3, inclusive Universal Health Coverage and supporting COVID-19 survivors

In this commentary, ICED’s Dorothy Boggs and co-authors explain why functioning is important to measure, especially when considering the need for rehabilitation and assistive technology. Functioning and interventions are discussed in the context of recovery for COVID-19 survivors.

Read the article

Research During COVID-19

Conducting disability research during COVID-19

To support research being conducted during the pandemic, ICED have developed evidence and guidance on remote quantitative and qualitative methods. These materials are available below.

Qualitative Research Material

Below are useful training materials that have been developed as part of the ICED qualitative study into the impacts of COVID-19 on people with disabilities globally. This research is funded by UK AID through the Covid Collective.  

Qualitative Researchers Handbook - COVID-19 and Disability

Banks, L.M. & Hameed, S. (2021) “Qualitative Researchers’ Handbook: COVID-19 & disability – a multi-country study.” International Centre for Evidence in Disability, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: London, UK.

Qualitative Interviewer Training - Disability COVID-19

Banks, L.M. & Hameed, S. (2021) “Exploring the experiences of people with disabilities during COVID-19.” International Centre for Evidence in Disability, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: London, UK

Quantitative Research Material

How can we measure disability in research related to the COVID-19 response?

This evidence brief draws on lessons from several population-based surveys and reflections from stakeholders in disability measurement to outline recommendations for measuring disability during the pandemic.

Read the evidence brief


ICED UK Research

UK research on COVID-19

Throughout the pandemic, researchers at ICED were engaged in a number of research projects within the UK. This included a qualitative study on the experiences of disabled people and large quantitative analyses on hospitalisation and death. Find journal articles, online presentations and other resources from these studies below.

Research project: The experiences of disabled people in England and Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic 

Funded by UKRI, this project saw researchers from ICED and the University of Glasgow conducted in-depth qualitative research with 71 disabled participants and 28 organisations for and of disabled people from across England and Scotland. Participants were interviewed twice, first early in the pandemic and again one year later. Interviews explored experiences of healthcare, social care, education, employment and leisure. Reports and presentations from this research are available below.

Disabled People in Britain and the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

This article reports on interviews conducted during the pandemic with disabled people and key informants.

Read the article


Disabled people and the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons for policy [Webinar]

Along with ICED and the University of Glasgow, four disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) give recommendations to policymakers coming from research during the pandemic.

Visit the events page

Watch the presentations (gallery view with BSL interpretation)

Watch the presentations (speaker view with no BSL interpretation)

Read Disabled people and COVID-19 - Transcript (Word)

Read Disabled people and COVID-19 - Transcript (PDF)

The experiences of people with learning disabilities during the pandemic [Webinar]

Presentation on the findings of experiences of people with learning disabilities during the pandemic. Easy Read slides are available below.

Watch the presentation

Download the Easy Read slides (PowerPoint)

Download the Easy Read slides (PDF)

The experiences of people with intellectual disabilities in England and Scotland during COVID-19 [Conference presentation]

Presented at the 6th International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD) Europe Congress, ICED’s Nathaniel Scherer presents preliminary findings from our qualitative research on the experiences of people with learning/intellectual disabilities during COVID-19.

Watch the presentation

Download the slides (PowerPoint)

Download the slides (PDF)


Other UK research and projects

Deaths involving COVID-19 by disability status: a retrospective analysis of 29 million adults during the first two waves of the Coronavirus pandemic in England

Using data from the Office for National Statistics, this article looks at the association between self-reported disability and deaths involving COVID-19 among adults in England. Results show that disabled people in England had markedly increased risk of mortality involving COVID-19 compared to non-disabled people.

Read the preprint article 

Risks of Covid-19 hospital admission and death for people with learning disability: population based cohort study using the OpenSAFELY platform

Patient-level data for >17 million people were linked with death data from the Office of National Statistics in order to assess the association between learning disability and risk of hospitalisation and mortality from COVID-19 among people with learning disabilities. Results showed that people with learning disabilities had increased risks of hospitalisation and mortality from COVID-19.

Read the article

Disability in the pandemic [Webinar]

In this webinar, Tom Shakespeare and Calum Davey examine the different ways in which disabled people in the UK have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch the session

Disabled people in the UK and the impact of COVID-19 [Webinar]

In this webinar, ICED’s co-Directors, Hannah Kuper and Tom Shakespeare, consider whether the 14 million disabled people in the UK have been a group particularly impacted by COVID-19.

Watch the session


ICED Global Research

Global research on COVID-19

ICED has worked with partners across the globe, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, to conduct disability research related to COVID-19. This research has spanned systematic reviews, policy analysis and qualitative study. Below are research items from our work across the world. 

Community Ear & Hearing Health Journal: Ear and hearing care in the midst of a pandemic

The latest issue of the Community Ear & Hearing Health journal was themed on ear and hearing care during the pandemic. Articles include ways to promote inclusion in COVID measures and the remote provision of ear and hearing care.

Read the issue 

How can the health of people with disabilities in humanitarian camps be supported during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Drawing on 13 articles, this evidence brief provides recommendations on how to support people with disabilities in humanitarian camps during the pandemic.

Read the evidence brief 

What do we know about how to support mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic from past infectious disease epidemics?

This evidence brief summarises the findings of six systematic reviews on mental health support during Covid-19 and other recent pandemics, informing policy and practice.

Read the evidence brief

Are older people with disabilities neglected in the COVID-19 pandemic?

ICED's co-Directors discuss a study from Steptoe and Di Gessa and its findings that older people with disabilities are greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the commentary 

Online community engagement in response to COVID‐19 pandemic

Through various real-world examples, this article describes the adaptation of community-based participatory interventions to run online in response to COVID-19, and the lessons that can be learnt from them.

Read the article 

The challenge of including people with disabilities in the strategy to address the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil

In this article, Veronika Reichenberger considers the context of Brazil  and the challenges people with disabilities face in the measures taken to control the pandemic.

Read the article (Portuguese)

Prevalence of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic review and meta-analysis

This systematic review and meta-analysis pools prevalence estimates for depression, anxiety and PTSD among healthcare workers during the pandemic, benefitting from the inclusion of studies published in Chinese. Across 65 studies involving 97,333 healthcare workers, the pooled prevalence of depression was 21.7%, of anxiety 22.1% and of PTSD 21.5%.

Read the article 

Are the rights of people with disabilities included in international guidance on WASH during the COVID-19 pandemic? Content anaylsis using EquiFrame

The EquiFrame content analysis tool was used to analyse the inclusion of 21 core concepts of rights for people with disabilities in international guidance on WASH during COVID-19.

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Disability among Older People: Analysis of Data from Disability Surveys in Six Low- and Middle-Income Countries

This analysis of surveys from six low- and middle-income countries demonstrated that disability is common among older people, and older people with disabilities may have greater difficulties participating in COVID-19 responses and have high economic vulnerabilities.

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Assistive Technology Use and Provision During COVID-19: Results From a Rapid Global Survey

This rapid global study explored how AT use and provision have been affected during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how AT policies and systems may be made more resilient based on lessons learned during this global crisis. Four primary themes were identified in in the data: Disruption of Services, Insufficient Emergency Preparedness, Limitations in Existing Technology, and Inadequate Policies and Systems.

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Health Risks and Consequences of a COVID-19 Infection for People with Disabilities: Scoping Review and Descriptive Thematic Analysis

This study aims to synthesise the literature on disproportionate health risks and consequences of COVID-19 among people with disabilities. 58 studies were included, with analysis showing: (1) People with disabilities living in residential or long-term care facilities were more likely to have greater infection rates; (2) Intersecting mediators of greater infection risks were multiple (e.g., lack of accessible information); (3) People with disabilities often face greater health problems when infected; and (4) Unethical disadvantages in the rationing of lifesaving and critical care can be experienced by people with disabilities.

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Lockdown-Related Disparities Experienced by People with Disabilities during the First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Scoping Review with Thematic Analysis

This review synthesised the literature on broader health and social impacts on people with disabilities arising from lockdown-related measures. 85 studies were included, with analysis showing: (1) Disrupted access to healthcare (other than for COVID-19); (2) Reduced physical activity lead to health and functional decline; (3) Psychological consequences of disrupted routines, activities, and support; (4) Disruption of personal assistance and community support networks; (5) Children with disabilities were disproportionally affected by school closures; and other key themes.

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PREparedness, REsponse and SySTemic transformation (PRE-RE-SyST): a model for disability-inclusive pandemic responses and systemic disparities reduction derived from a scoping review and thematic analysis

This paper aims to present the PREparedness, RESponse and SySTemic transformation (PRE-RE-SyST): a model for a disability-inclusive pandemic responses and systematic disparities reduction. The model was derived from a scoping review and thematic analysis of the literature on the disparities (i.e., disproportional impacts) experienced by PwD during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, most notably a review of the actions or recommended action to address these disparities.

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