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Supporting people with a learning disability and/or autism


Midlands Learning Disability and Autism Registered Managers Network

Skills for Care are running a Midlands Learning Disability and Autism Registered Managers Network.

This is an opportunity for managers of social care services for people with a learning disability/autism to:

  • connect and support each other
  • share knowledge and understanding
  • invite subject experts to meetings
  • focus on the particular challenges and skills needed to help people with learning disability/autism to have great lives

If you want to join the group or have any other queries about the network please contact Lucy McDonald, Locality Manager (Midlands) lucy.mcdonald@skillsforcare.org.uk.  

Registered Managers Networks are run by and for managers and supported by Skills for Care.

National and local guidance for providers supporting people with learning disabilities and /or autism

The government has updated its Covid-19 guidance for providers of supported living settings and also added new Working with people in supported living this winter guidance.  The guidance is primarily aimed at managers, care and support workers and other staff in supported living settings. 

This guidance sets out:

  • key messages to assist with planning and preparation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic so that local procedures can be put in place to minimise risk and provide the best possible support to people in supported living settings
  • safe systems of working including, social distancing, respiratory and hand hygiene and enhanced cleaning
  • Infection prevention and control measures specifically for supported living settings
  • how to identify and manage outbreaks 

Section 3 of the national guidance documents below contains useful information and specialist advice related to the care of people with learning disabilities and/or autism:  

COVID-19: how to work safely in domiciliary care in England 

COVID-19: how to work safely in care homes 

The Social Care Institute for Excellence has developed the following guides:

Delivering safe, face to face adult day care which aims to support day care providers to continue or restart activities.  It contains practical information, advice on risk assessments, and practice examples;

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) - supporting autistic people and people with learning disabilities during Covid-19 guide to help care staff and personal assistants supporting people with learning disabilities and autistic adults through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has brought together all guidance related to coronavirus and home care in one place. The guidance document below answers frequently asked questions for providers who support and deliver care to people in their own homes, including supported living settings.  

Local joint guidance from Staffordshire CCGs and Staffordshire Police on supporting people with a learning disability or autism is available here:

Other online resources to help providers support people with learning disabilities and / or autism during the pandemic

In its August workforce development update, Skills for Care highlights the following resources that you may find interesting:

  • Psychological support for people with learning disabilities (including Thriving with Nature - an updated guide from WWF and the Mental Health Foundation on the mental health benefits of being outdoors, including examples of activities for all seasons)
  • Films and other resources on wearing face coverings in shops and on public transport 
  • Positive behaviour helpline for families and carers from BILD, recorded webinars by North East London Foundation Trust  

Free resources for carers to support people with learning disabilities through the pandemic

Beyond Words has a range of free picture books and illustrated guides for use by carers (and family) to help them support people with learning disabilities during the pandemic.  The topics covered include what to do if you have Covid-19, how to keep yourself and other people safe and to prompt discussion about the impact of Covid-19 on people's lives and especially the impact of people dying from Covid-19. 

Links to easy read information, sites and hosting sites

Service users returning from hospital

 As you will be well aware, the NHS needs us to support more people, as hospital beds need to be freed up for those who need them most - and they may well be needed for your service users in the future. 

The hospital discharge team should be able to answer any questions you may have about the discharge process for your service user.

If you have any specific query that you cannot resolve by speaking to the hospital, then please email us on ascincidentmanagement@staffordshire.gov.uk and we will link the query with our NHS colleagues. 

 Service users who refuse care

If an adult refuses care from a care provider then the following will happen:

  • care agencies should refer all refusals of care to the allocated worker or relevant area team via Staffordshire Cares 0300 111 8010
  • if the adult has capacity then the social work team will have a discussion with them about the implications of this decision, establishing how they will manage their care needs e.g. support from family etc. Where possible this will be the responsibility of area duty teams, recording this discussion on our Care Director system.
  • should a person's representative or carer refuse support on their behalf practitioners must make contact with the person to confirm that they are aware of this before any decisions in relation to withdrawing support are made. Should there be any concerns that a representative/carer is not acting in a person's best interest then established due processes must be followed. 

 Service user in receipt of care who has been advised to self-isolate and refuses or does not understand the risk

If an adult in receipt of care is advised to self isolate and refuses, the care provider will need to inform adult social care of this refusal by contacting Staffordshire Cares on 0300 111 8010

If the adult lacks capacity a discussion must be had with the advocate or identified family member to explain the risks etc. and then to consider the care continuing in the adult’s best interest. This will be the responsibility of the relevant area duty team who can be contacted via Staffordshire Cares on   0300 111 8010

This discussion and decision will need to be recorded on Care Director system. 

Visits to residential facilities

For the most up to date advice on visiting arrangements in supported living settings, please refer to the ‘Visitors and support bubbles’ section of the Covid-19 guidance for providers of supported living settings  

Learning disabilities mortality review (LeDeR)

The learning disabilities mortality review programme is funded by NHS England and commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP). It is the first national programme of its kind in the world.

Its overall aims are to:

  • support improvements in the quality of health and social care service delivery for people with learning disabilities
  • help reduce premature mortality and health inequalities for people with learning disabilities

The programme was established in response to the recommendations of the confidential inquiry into the premature deaths of people with learning disabilities (CIPOLD). 

All deaths of people with learning disabilities should be notified to the LeDeR team. This includes deaths associated with Covid-19. This is in order to ascertain the numbers of people with learning disabilities who die each year, and their characteristics. All deaths of people with learning disabilities aged 4 years and over will be reviewed, regardless of whether the death was expected or not, the cause of death or the place of death. Before the age of 4 years it is often difficult to assess whether a child has learning disabilities or not.  

The LeDeR programme is using the definition of learning disabilities provided in the 2001 White Paper 'Valuing People'. The purpose of reviewing deaths is to identify if there are any potentially avoidable contributory factors associated with the deaths of people with learning disabilities.

Who can notify of a death?

Anyone can notify a death including people with learning disabilities themselves, family members, friends and paid staff.

How can you notify a death?

Notify a death online or call 0300 777 4774

Other relevant national guidance

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