COVID-19 advice for Social Care: guide for care staff supporting those with learning disabilities or autism

SCIE have created a guide to help care staff and personal assistants support adults with learning disabilities and autism through the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this guidance is to assist the provision of high-quality care and support.

“People with learning disabilities and autistic people have the same rights as the rest of the population to live purposeful lives as active members of families and communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, everyone’s lives have been limited, and everyone has had to make changes to the way we live together and within communities to combat the virus. Although most legal restrictions have now been lifted, the virus is still circulating at a high rate and lives will continue to be affected. The pandemic has had a huge impact on those with care and support needs, carers and staff. This guidance is aimed at supporting providers and care staff to work as safely and proactively as possible.” SCIE

This guidance covers the following key topics:

  • Helping the person to understand the changes
  • General measures
  • Maintaining relationships
  • Staying well
  • Healthcare
  • Advance decisions to refuse treatment and advance planning
  • Easements of the Care Act 2014 and a framework for decision making
  • Safeguarding
  • Death and Bereavement

Maintaining Relationships
It is important that individuals are supported to maintain their relationships with family, friends or partners. Restrictions on the number of people who can meet indoors have now lifted, however, the infection rate is still high. Everyone is advised to remain cautious and take actions that are known to reduce the chance of spreading the COVID-19 virus. Here are some examples of how people can interact socially while still being cautious:

  • Meeting outside
  • Indoor meetings should be kept well ventilated
  • Minimise the number of people who are in close contact and for how long
  • Wash hands and surfaces regularly
  • Take the vaccine when offered it
  • Get tested regularly
  • Remember some people are more vulnerable than others to being seriously ill with the virus

Also, let’s not forget about the other ways to stay connected; video calls, webinars, online groups and events. Even as restrictions ease, the people you support may continue to experience loneliness as a result of the changes in their lives as well as experiencing anxiety about the virus or about beginning to mix more freely again. There are lots of useful resources to help support those who may be feeling like this.

For more information on the other key topics covered in the guidance and for links to some other useful resources, click here!

If you would like any more information on the above, have any questions, or about how we can collaborate, please let us know. To get in touch, either call 03305 552233 or email

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