Coronavirus guidance for supported living

14 August 2020

Updated COVID-19: guidance for supported living was published by Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social on 6 August.

The guidance is aimed at managers, care and support workers, and other staff in supported living settings.

It is primarily intended to cover long-term services for people with learning disabilities, autism, dementia or enduring mental health conditions, although it also states that many of the same principles can be applied to extra care and sheltered housing. Guidance for homeless hostels has been produced separately.

The guidance recommends that managers should use it to develop their own specific ways of working to protect people’s wellbeing and minimise risks.

It covers steps that providers should take to maintain service delivery while also preventing and controlling infection within schemes.

Maintaining service delivery

In some cases, residents need immediate care or support that cannot be delivered remotely without putting them at risk. Providers should try to maintain service delivery as consistently as possible, including by:

  • Working with local authorities to ensure that lists of people in supported living are up to date.
  • Maintaining up-to-date business continuity plans.
  • Maintaining oversight of vulnerable residents and ensuring they have risk management plans in place.
  • Avoiding sharing staff between settings.

Infection control

While maintaining service delivery, providers should also take all necessary precautions to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading within schemes. The guidance covers infection control measures including:

  • Proper use of PPE.
  • Hygiene measures including hand-hygiene.
  • Promoting social distancing among staff and residents.
  • When and how to allow visitors to schemes.
  • How to respond if staff or residents display coronavirus symptoms.
  • Managing outbreaks within schemes.
  • Testing and tracing.