The central role of adult social care

Page last updated: 21 October 2022

The pandemic has reinforced how vital adult social care is for the many people who rely on it. Services have faced massive challenges in keeping people safe during the pandemic, while supporting them to live fulfilling lives through person-centred care.

The impact of the pandemic on people who draw on and work in adult social care services has been devastating and, despite the best efforts of staff, COVID-19 has contributed to a significant increase in the number of deaths in nursing and residential care homes in particular. Our data on the notified deaths of people living in care homes in England conveyed the tragic loss of life of people using adult social care services to COVID-19.

Based on our programme of infection prevention and control inspections of care homes, we reported that most care providers that we have inspected have demonstrated that they have faced their challenges well. They have been supported by staff who have showed resilience under unprecedented pressures. They have gone the extra mile to keep the people in their care healthy, active, and as independent as possible, while keeping family members and carers informed and engaged.

Holistic, person-centred care has always been important, but during the pandemic it has become even more critical as adult social care staff have taken an even bigger role in the lives of people in their care during periods of lockdown.

Where people using services have had less contact with people during the pandemic that understand and affirm their culture, such as family and friends, it has been important that care staff have been alert and responsive to people’s beliefs or conventions. In May 2021, we supported care providers, managers and staff with an online resource that details some key aspects for supporting culturally appropriate care, and provides examples of good practice, including many that we have seen when we've carried out inspections of adult social care services.

It is work like this that highlights the importance of a career in adult social care in enhancing the day-to-day health, wellbeing and experiences of people using services, as well as providing support and comfort at the end of their life.

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Adult social care fragility

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Infection prevention and control