Adult social care - winter preparedness plan: 2021-22

This Plan sets out the measures that will be applied across the adult social care sector to meet the challenges over the winter 2021 - 2022. It details information to all those involved in and affected by adult social care provision. The Plan accompanies the Health and Social Care Winter Overview.


Adult social care plays an important role in supporting people to remain more independent, be active citizens, participate and contribute to our society and improve their mental and physical wellbeing. It provides high-quality care for people over 18 who need help with day-to-day living. It is important that people have choice and control when accessing adult social care support, which can be provided in many settings, including at home, in care homes or in the in wider community. We recognise that many people who require social care also have health care needs. Therefore ensuring safe, effective person-centred care through an integrated and co-ordinated health and social care approach will be critical over winter.

Care homes - Care at home

  • Sheltered housing
  • Adult day care
  • Women’s shelters
  • Mental health services
  • Learning disability services
  • Personal assistants
  • Independent Living Fund recipients
  • Addiction
  • Homelessness services
  • Social work
  • Respite services

The population receiving social care and support is diverse, with wide ranging needs and circumstances:

  • Around 245,000 (1 in 20) people receive social care and support in Scotland.
  • Around 60,000 people in Scotland are receiving home care at any one point.
  • The majority (77%) of people requiring social care services or support are aged 65 and over.
  • People residing in a care home tend to be older, with around 90% of residents aged 65 and over and 1 in 2 aged 85 plus.
  • However, not all people receiving social care are older. Younger adults with physical and learning disabilities or mental health conditions also receive vital support.
  • Poorer health and wider inequalities within any social care cohort will heighten the risk from COVID-19.

Adult social care is planned, commissioned and delivered by a wide range of partners. This includes organisations in the public, independent and third sectors. Ultimately the people most critical to the delivery of safe, high quality adult social care services this winter and beyond will be those in the front line workforce and unpaid carers.

  • There were 209,690 people employed in the social services sector in December 2020. There are many more people supporting delivery through our multidisciplinary health and social care teams.
  • It is also important we recognise the invaluable role of unpaid carers. It was estimated that there were 700,000 to 800,000 unpaid carers in Scotland before the pandemic. Polling last year suggests that number could have grown to over a million.



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