Prior to the COVID pandemic, staffing levels, staff turnover and vacancies in adult social care and social work within the UK were a major concern, with staff experiencing high workloads, burnout, stress and poor morale. The paucity of published evidence in a rapidly evolving contemporary situation indicated the suitability of a scoping review. Systematic searching produced evidence published between 1 December 2019 and 9 May 2023. Out of ninety-seven articles retrieved, the final analysis included thirty nine articles. To report the review findings clearly and accessibly, the analysis used the Patterns, Advances, Gaps, Evidence for practice and Research recommendations framework. Abundant evidence emerged on psychological distress and the impact of COVID-19 on the working environment for social care and social workers, but a paucity of psychosocial resilience, supporting social care managers, Personal Assistants and moral injury. Social care needs and the statutory duties of social work are likely to become even more intense. The COVID pandemic magnified a chronic lack of funding, staffing, support and regard for adult social care, with no future planning compared to the NHS. This legacy and backlogs of social care assessment and service delivery are of concern despite the proposed actions of the Adult Social Care Reform Act in England.