Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): clinical guidance for the management of clients accessing care at home, housing support and supported housing

Published: 6 Aug 2020
Last updated: 8 Sep 2021 - see all updates

Guidance for local authorities, Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs) and registered providers, who deliver care and support to people in their own homes or provide supported accommodation including sheltered housing, extra care housing and supported living during the pandemic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): clinical guidance for the management of clients accessing care at home, housing support and supported housing
Who this guidance is for

Who this guidance is for

This guidance has been created for following audience:

  • services providers of care at home services and supported housing settings
  • all individuals that access care in their own homes, or live in supported housing
  • social care workers
  • personal assistants
  • visiting health or social care professionals
  • unpaid carers
  • family and friends of those who access these care and support services

Scope of guidance

This guidance applies to the following settings:

  • care at home
  • sheltered housing
  • retirement/amenity housing
  • extra care housing
  • housing with care
  • supported living/ supported housing/housing with multiple occupancies

The consistent feature of these different settings and services is that people are living in their own homes with varying levels of support, which they access in a variety of ways.

This guidance is not for adult care homes. If you are registered as an adult care home through the Care Inspectorate please follow COVID-19 guidance for adult care homes.

Further descriptions of the terminology used within this guidance document to describe each setting/ services that this guidance applies to are provided below.

Sheltered housing and retirement/amenity housing

These terms are used to describe various types of housing which give people the independence of having their own housing with the security of having an alarm system and/or a warden. Some services have moved to an alarm and responder service only. The flats are usually self-contained units in a complex, which may have communal areas such as residents’ common room or laundry. It is possible to find sheltered housing to rent or to buy.

Extra care housing/housing with care

These terms are used to describe various types of housing for people who require additional support and assistance to live independently but do not need 24-hour support. In its most developed form, extra care housing can be seen as an alternative to residential care (care home) and is often serviced by an on-site care and support team minimising the response time for any care crisis.

Supported living or supported housing

These terms refer to housing with support provided to help disabled people, people with learning difficulties, and/ or mental health problems to live independently within their community. These services are characterised by personalised support either in a single or joint tenancy. 

Care at Home

Care at Home is a tailored care support for people who live at home and require support with daily living tasks to maintain their independence. People who use it include:

  • adults with a learning disability
  • adults with mental health problems
  • people with physical disabilities
  • older people, including those with dementia
  • children, young people and their families

Social care and support

Social care and support includes a varied range of tasks relating to agreed outcomes specific to the person accessing the care and/ or support. While the mix of tasks and activities will depend on the support plan, they may include:

  • personal care
  • support to see friends and family/ participate in the community
  • equipment and adaptions, like telecare and home improvements
  • reablement - this usually lasts up to 6 weeks and means support to help someone adapt to living independently at home after leaving hospital
  • shopping, meals on wheels or frozen meals delivery
  • cleaning, housework, laundry
  • collecting pensions and prescriptions, paying bills

Support may be delivered by social care workers through a local authority, a care provider, in either the third or independent sector, a telecare provider or a personal assistant directly employed by the supported person or by unpaid carers. It may be purchased with public sector funding or using someone’s own resources.


First published: 6 Aug 2020 Last updated: 8 Sep 2021 -