Health and Social Care Standards: my support, my life

Standards setting out what people should expect when using health, social care or social work services in Scotland.


Below is a list of terms and phrases commonly used across health, social work and social care sectors, along with a description of how these apply for the purposes of the Standards.



24 hour care

Where people are cared for and supported throughout the day and night.


Independent advocacy ensures that people know and better understand their rights, their situation and systems. Independent advocates help people to speak up for themselves and speak for those who need it.

An independent advocate is someone who helps build confidence and empowers people to assert themselves and express their needs, wishes and desires.

Collective advocacy happens when groups of people with a shared agenda, identity or experience come together to influence legislation, policy or services.


A health, social work or social care assessment will find out what help and support a person needs, such as healthcare, medication, advocacy, equipment, care at home, housing support or a care home.


Capacity refers to an individual's ability to make decisions about their care and support. This may change over time and may be different in particular aspects of their life. For people who have been medically assessed as having incapacity there is legislation to protect them.

care home

A care service providing 24 hour care and support with premises, usually as someone's permanent home. See also 'small care home' below.

care plan

See 'personal plan' below.


A carer is someone of any age who looks after or supports a family member, partner, friend or neighbour in need of help because they are ill, frail, have a disability or are vulnerable in some way. A carer does not have to live with the person being cared for and will be unpaid.


Although legal definitions vary, for these Standards a child is aged 0 to 16 years.

communal areas

An area in a care service such as a living or dining room, activity room, hairdresser, library, café, garden or quiet area that everyone can use.

communication tools

These help people to communicate in a range of ways. For example, visual prompts, talking mats (system of simple picture symbols) or mobile phone apps.


This means that information that is kept about someone by an organisation will not be shared with anyone else unless the person gives their consent for it to be shared. Confidentiality may only be broken if it avoids or reduces the risk of harm to a person.


Includes artistic activities, such as arts, crafts, music, drama and dance.

emergency or unexpected event

This is an incident or emergency that could require immediate action, such as the premises being evacuated.

emotionally resilient

Someone's ability to cope with, or adapt to, stressful situations or crises.

evidence, guidance and best practice

Written guidelines for agreed ways to provide care, support or carry out treatment. Often these are put together by professionals based on the best available evidence at the time. These guidelines often change so that they remain up to date.

human rights

Human rights are based on the principle of respect for the individual and they are the rights and freedoms that belong to every person, at every age. They are set out in international human rights treaties and are enshrined in UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998.

intimate personal care

This relates to activities which most people usually carry out for themselves, such as washing, brushing teeth, going to the toilet, dressing or eating.

open ended materials

Open ended materials (also called loose parts) are play materials that can be used in numerous ways indoors and outdoors by children. They can be moved, carried, combined and redesigned in any way the child decides.

permanent alternative care

Care provided to children to ensure they have stable, secure, nurturing relationships, normally within a family setting, that continues to adulthood.

personal plan

A plan of how care and support will be provided, as agreed in writing between an individual and the service provider. The plan will set out how an individual's assessed needs will be met, as well as their wishes and choices.

planned care

The term used to describe care, support or treatment which is carried out as detailed in someone's personal plan (see above).

positive risks

Positive risks means making balanced decisions about risks; it is the taking of calculated and reasoned risks, which recognises that there are benefits as well as potential harm from taking risks in day to
day life.


When an organisation providing care and support also provides premises, such as a nursery, hospital or care home. It does not apply when someone using a service is responsible for the premises, including housing support or care at home.

professional and organisational codes

These codes set out standards of conduct and competence, as well as the personal values, which people working and volunteering in health and care services are expected to follow.


This may include someone appointed to have power of attorney, a guardian, family member, friend, neighbour or an agreed person who can speak on the individual's behalf. A representative may be formal or not formal.

restrictions to my independence, control and choice

Involves any restriction to independent movement or freedom of choice, such as a physical barrier. In some exceptional circumstances, this could involve searches and physical or chemical restraint. If physical detention, restraint or searching is used, the individual concerned will usually be subject to a formal legal order authorising this.

small care home

A care home for 6 people or less.

small group living

Small groups, usually numbering fewer than ten people, provided with their own lounge and dining facilities for their own group use in a homely environment. Small group living sometimes takes place within a larger care service such as a care home or hospital.

technology and other specialist equipment

Specialised equipment that helps people in their day to day life, such as telecare, telehealth or telemedicine, alarm call system, remote support and advice or mobility aids.


A specialised treatment or intervention, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, counselling and talking therapies.

young person

For these Standards, a young person is aged 16 to 21 years. And anyone over 21 will also be a young person for these Standards while they are being provided with continuing care by a local authority if they have been looked after by the local authority between the ages of 16 and 19.



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