The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has issued new guidance to help care staff supporting adults with a learning disability and autism through the COVID-19 crisis.
The guidance aims to help care providers and frontline workers keep service users informed and safe.
It includes advice on how to help autistic people and adults with a learning disability overcome anxiety, which may be exacerbated by the current pandemic.
“Supporting autistic people and people with a learning disability requires skill and time in what can sometimes be complex situations. The current health crisis has increased confusion, fear and anxiety for everyone, and inevitably it will bring additional challenges,” the document says.
The SCIE notes that it is important that care staff think about what their client enjoys doing normally – how they choose to spend their time, who is important to them, what strategies and plans typically work when things are not going well – and to continue to provide calm and reassuring support.
“Much has been changed by the coronavirus, but the personality, preferences and interests of the person you are supporting will likely not have done,” the organisation advices.
“So, make sure the person is included in discussions and decisions, so they’ll have the best chance of understanding what’s going on, and of staying in control of their lives as much as possible.”
The guidance also provides information on helping adults with a learning disability and autism stay well during the pandemic, by maintaining good hygiene and managing infection control.
“This can be challenging, because many of the care settings in which autistic people and people with learning disabilities live are designed to be as homely as possible, with an emphasis on comfort and domesticity, not infection control. Good role modelling by staff will therefore be essential,” the SCIE says.