What is this supported living guidance about?
The restrictions put in place across society in being able to visit and spend physical time together have had a significant impact and effect on both peoples physical and mental health and wellbeing.
The effect has been particularly difficult for many families with loved ones with a learning disability living in supported living accommodation, as many families and individuals have often not been able to make full use of the connection opportunities that other families across Wales have been able to do.
Even when supported living providers have worked to be flexible with connecting, many approved decisions have still focused on risk aversion around covid-19, and this has created further inequalities for some people with learning disability and their families, with individual and family voice and control being lost in processes.
You can read more about the effect COVID-19 has had on some people with a learning disability living in supported living and their families in a BBC article below –
The purpose of this guidance is to enable tenants, their families and support providers in supported living to work together to comply with the latest Coronavirus restrictions., alongside being able to ensure that individuals and families can connect using the same opportunities as the rest of the population in Wales.
This new guidance from Welsh Government is for –
- Tenants with social care needs
- Families and unpaid carers
- Care providers
It is important to note, that this guidance does not apply to those individuals living in care homes, where they receive both accommodation and care.
How did this guidance come about?
This guidance has been developed by Welsh Government, through working with a range of stakeholders representing the supported living sector, and input from organisations representing tenants and their families, including All Wales Forum and All Wales People First.
What are the key points of this guidance for families?
We recommend that families read the full guidance, however, we have summarised the key points for your information below –
- Individuals with a learning disability and their families must be engaged in the risk assessment and assessing any risk involved in visitation and formation of extended households.
- Supported living is now classed as ‘Housing of multiple occupancy’, which means that individual tenants and family can choose to be each other’s support bubble. So this means that a tenant can choose to ‘bubble’ with one other household, and this can be family, friend or another tenant.
- ‘Bubble’ households in principle with be able to visit, have physical contact and stay overnight in the tenants supported living accommodation – although this will still need proper discussion and risk assessments between tenants, families and support provider staff.
- If a person is not part of a tenants ‘bubble’ they will be allowed to visit the tenant outdoors and beyond the grounds of the supported living accommodation at a safe social distance, but not in their house or garden.
- However, no more than 4 people are allowed to meet outdoors – this does not include children under 12.
- Indoor visits are allowed from people providing physical care to tenants in supported living.
- Workers providing personal services to tenants are allowed to visit, but at a safe social distance.
What is worth considering when reading this guidance?
A point worth considering when reading this information, is that families should be consulted during the risk assessment process when visiting their loved ones. During this process, enabling the rights of the tenant to reconnect should be central, with the safety of the tenant and their family remaining.
It will also be prudent to work together to consider the ‘shared’ risk for the whole household if there are several tenants. However, the principle will be one that starts with connecting and ‘bubbles’ being enabled and then risks being managed as needed.
Although this new guidance is an important step towards individuals with learning disabilities and their families regaining some freedoms and civil liberties which have been restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, the health of tenants, families and workers will remain a paramount consideration.
It remains our collective civic duties to ensure that the risk associated with reconnecting with loved ones is considered and managed between us all to enable us to make the most of the opportunities we have available.
Where can I find out more?
You can read the guidance in full via the link below on the Welsh Governments website –
If you have any questions relating to supported living for a loved one with a learning disability, please contact us directly –
All Wales Forum, 23 Cardiff Road, Taff’s Well, CF15 7RP
T: 02920 811120