Social care support

Social care support is about supporting people to:

  • live independently
  • be active citizens
  • participate and contribute to our society
  • maintain their dignity and human rights

We are committed to supporting people to stay at home or in a homely setting with maximum independence, for as long as possible. We also aim to retain the right people to work in social care support and social work and to raise the status of social care as a profession.

More information is in the following sections: 

Free personal and nursing care

Free personal and/or nursing care is available to all adults in Scotland who have been assessed by the local authority as eligible for these services. 

Information about our policy on unpaid carers is in a separate page.

Background information about the extension of free personal care for adults aged under 65 is in our website archive.

In Scotland there are items in non-personal care, and for residential care, that are charged for. More information is in the following sections. For details about charges in your area, contact your local Health and Social Care Partnership.

Care homes

Care homes are places where people can live in a homely setting and have their needs met by trained staff.

We provide funding for Care Information Scotland (CIS) which gives information on care and support services for older people.

The Care Inspectorate is the national regulator for care services in Scotland.

Revised guidance on charging for residential accommodation (CCD 1/2023) is on the SEHD website.

More information about care and care services is on the website.

Care home sector

The care home sector is complex. It provides specialised care for adults and older people, people with learning and physical disability, neurological illness, mental health conditions and brain injury. Care homes also provide intermediate and respite care services. People who living in care homes have a right to have their health and social care needs met in a person centred, holistic, consistent and co-ordinated way.

Our main priority is to provide consistent high quality, safe and effective personalised care focused on the person living in the care home. 

Care homes: healthcare framework

In June 2022 we published our healthcare framework for adults and older people living in care homes. It was produced in collaboration with key stakeholders from across the sector.

The framework:

  • fully aligns with the independent review of adult social care
  • enhances the health of people living within a care home
  • improves the way we assess, monitor and respond to their ever-changing health and care needs 

It focuses on the these key areas:

  • a nurturing environment
  • the multi-disciplinary team
  • prevention
  • anticipatory care, supported self-management and early intervention
  • urgent and emergency care
  • palliative and end of life care
  • a sustainable and skilled workforce
  • data, digital and health

We have also produced a short animation, which will be the first of a series, detailing the life of ‘Bill’, a fictional character, who moves into a care home following a decline in health. The animation details what good care looks like for Bill and puts into practice many of the key recommendations in the framework.

Contact us


Care homes: guidance on vitamin D supplementation

In December 2023 we published guidance on Vitamin D in care homes on offering vitamin D supplements to eligible residents in adult care homes. Vitamin D is important for keeping bones and muscles healthy. Groups at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, including people living in care homes, are advised to take a daily supplement all year round. 

The guidance materials, which were successfully piloted in some care homes, aim to support care home staff to discuss vitamin D supplements with residents. 

Unpaid care

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 puts in place a system of carers’ rights designed to listen to carers, make support more consistent between areas, and to prevent problems – helping to protect carers’ health and wellbeing. More information on unpaid care.

Ordinary residences

A local authority can recover the costs of providing services to a person 'ordinarily resident' in another local authority. Normally the local authority in which a person is ordinarily resident is financially responsible for the community care services for that person.

Where disputes arise, local authorities can apply to Scottish Ministers for a determination of ordinary residence when all other attempts at resolution have failed.

We have published guidance and templates relating to ordinary determinations.

We publish anonymised ordinary residence determinations to show the approach taken to making a determination.

Information about our policy on benefits for carers is in our social security page. 

Back to top