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Tuesday, 03 October 2017 15:42

The Emperor’s new clothes

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Geraldine Cooney, NHS Programme Regional Officer for Shared Lives Plus, writes a guest blog about her work  on the Shared Lives Plus programme with NHS England.
 
Working on the Shared Lives Plus NHS programme with NHS England, I’ve been hearing a lot about health and social care integration. I’ve been reading and learning about how integration will empower patients to take control of their lives, how it will ‘dissolve the classic divide… between family doctors and hospitals, between physical and mental health, between health and social care, between prevention and treatment.’ 

Integration and personalisation is the cornerstone of all current NHS and government policies. There’s an awful lot of information out there – run a search online and you will be swamped- one study found 175 definitions of integrated care! The Better Care Fund is the main lever bringing health and social care organisations together to plan, fund and commission integrated services.  Personal Health Budgets (PHB’s), with support focused on how people want to live rather than just their health needs, are another important part of the integration agenda. It would be hard to disagree with any of these sensible ideas of joined up services and person centred care – integrated services that value people as individuals fits perfectly with the ethos and model of Shared Lives.  Our NHS programme is therefore well placed as part of the integration agenda, sitting within NHS England’s Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC) service.

But what does integration mean in practice and how will we know if it is actually happening? I started to wonder about this back in February when an Audit Office report concluded that integration has been slower and less successful than envisaged. It found that although the Better Care Fund has increased joint working, this integration has not delivered better outcomes for patients, the NHS or Local Authorities. A further report from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) identified problems for integrated working as conflicting polices, different funding systems, different eligibility criteria for health and social care service and separate governance arrangements. SCIE said that the focus of integration on improving systems and processes didn’t necessarily translate into better care; they highlighted a need to identify what good integration actually looks and feels like to people using services.

It seems that putting integration into practice is harder than producing buzzwords and policy documents; and our experience at Shared Lives Plus certainly bears this out.  We have found some disconnect between government and NHS policy and what is happening on a local level within Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Authorities. Many of us at Shared Lives are having conversations with health commissioners and hospital discharge teams, but the referrals coming in are via the usual routes – from social work teams who know and understand the Shared Lives model of old. Personal Health Budget’s sound like the ideal mechanism for funding Shared Lives arrangements, but we have not yet seen this happening in any significant way.

There have been times when I’ve felt like one of the townsfolk going along with the excitement about the Emperor’s magnificent new clothes, when in fact he is naked and nobody dares create upset by pointing this out. There is clearly much work still to be done in raising awareness of Shared Lives, in accessing referrals via integrated pathways and pooled budgets. In some areas of the country Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC) demonstrator sites do appear to have clear ideas about commissioning Shared Lives through health, but in other areas it is very early days for the integrated systems, and too soon to see the effects in terms of funding Shared Lives arrangements.

On the positive side, we do have successes to share.  I’ve been encouraged by seeing first-hand how health and social care integration is being played out in some of our match funded areas.  Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG’s), Local authorities and Shared Lives schemes are talking to each other and demonstrating a real enthusiasm for doing things differently. New relationships are being formed, awareness and understanding has increased on both sides, and new pathways and processes are starting to take shape.  Some of our colleagues have found new ways of working with health and social care commissioners.  For example, Bolton Shared Lives scheme are sitting on the joint allocation panels at the CCG, where Shared Lives is the first option for care and support. Bolton are also receiving referrals into Shared Lives via the community mental health teams.

Our team recently visited Northumberland Shared Lives to learn from schemes working in health outside our match funded programme.  Northumbria NHS are a NHS England vanguard site trying a new model of care called a ‘Multi speciality Community Provider’ (MCP).  Julie Shepherd, the Shared Lives manager told us how having shared offices, shared back-office systems and pooled budgets means that awareness of Shared Lives is high in both health and social care in Northumbria, resulting in seamless commissioning and funding pathways.  In this environment Julie says;  ‘accessing Shared lives is an ‘open door’ for health and social care professionals’. I found it really refreshing to see Shared Lives Northumberland positioned as the first option on the ‘Accomodation and Care homes’ page of the Northumbria NHS website (above Care homes!).

We all know the pressures on the NHS; perhaps we just need to be more patient. There is change in the offing – the government’s aim is for health and social care integration by 2020 and an ‘integration standard’ is being developed – to show what ‘good’ looks like. NHS England have produced an expansion plan for personal health budgets with targets for CCG’s to meet. NHS England say that PHB’s should now be routinely offered; they expect the number of people with PHB’s to increase rapidly, becoming ‘business as usual’ by 2021.

We know that integration aims to close the divide between people and the professionals who serve them and that it should start and end with people, not structures.
 
National voices came up with the following definition after talking to people about the meaning of integration;‘my care is planned with people who work together to understand me and my carer(s), put me in control, coordinate and deliver services to achieve my best outcomes’
 
It seems that integration is playing out in a variety of ways and no one model will suit all contexts. People themselves are the best integrators of care; and they will know if it’s happening, or not. We all want to see change from the ground up; our NHS project will be highlighting integration challenges as well as success stories that enable and transform peoples’ lives.
 

2017 started well for me - a new job with Shared Lives Plus – as Regional Officer for the NHS England funded programme. With the overstretched NHS in the news almost every day, it seemed an ideal time to be part of a project, exploring alternatives to traditional hospital and/or residential care for people with health needs. The idea that health and happiness are interlinked may be radical for the NHS, but for most of us it is obvious that a good home and living situation will improve your health and well-being.

In January, I met with colleagues from Shared Lives Plus, along with Shared Lives carers and ambassadors at our Awayday in Liverpool. I was struck by the positive energy, skills and commitment in the room. I went away wondering why the Shared Lives model is so little known about, when it can offer so much to Shared Lives carers, families, people in Shared Lives and health and social care providers, as well as to the wider communities in which we all live.

Since then, I’ve been finding how hard everybody involved in Shared Lives works to be able to offer and nurture these unique arrangements. I’ve started to understand the resources and skills we have in Shared Lives scheme staff, Shared Lives carers and the people who use Shared Lives. The Shared Lives Plus report A Shared Life is a Healthy Life illustrates the many health benefits of living in a Shared Lives arrangement, and shows how many Shared Lives carers already support people’s health needs day to day, as they would a family member. The knowledge and expertise that Shared Lives carers have built up in this way, is a resource that we will need to draw upon to develop the work of the NHS programme. For example, one Shared Lives carer in North Somerset produced her own list of do’s and dont’s based on her experiences of people with dementia. We hope to involve experienced and proactive carers like this in peer training where good practice is shared.

Recognising and valuing the contribution of our experts by experience, and ensuring that this project is co-created by people with understanding and knowledge from the ‘bottom up’ will be important to ensure the success of our NHS programme. This is not just about doing something new, but involves doing more of what we do already, and shining a spotlight on what Shared Lives arrangements are capable of in terms of peoples’ health. Shared Lives recognises the strengths of people and communities and I think it embodies the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach. ABCD sees individuals and citizens as producers of health and wellbeing within the community, rather than as recipients of services. This is a different approach to traditional health and social care services because it asks the question ‘what makes us healthy?’ rather than ‘what makes us ill?’

Shared Lives Plus has received funding for this project from NHS England, and we are currently working with five Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) as part of the match funded programme (there are more to come). The hard reality is that NHS England and the CCGs will want to see savings to the NHS budget arising from their investment in Shared Lives; and we have appointed our evaluators (the New Economics Foundation) to help us with this. I’ve been discovering more about the inside workings of the NHS from attending CCG meetings, learning about integrated care services, commissioning, health budgets, referral and care pathways. I’ve been finding that the NHS is awash with jargon –abbreviations bounce around in these meetings until your head is spinning. To calm my nerves I have produced a short jargon buster for people in Shared Lives new to the NHS. I referred to a very helpful and much longer jargon buster produced by Think Local Act Personal . See link(https://www.thinklocalactpersonal.org.uk/Browse/Informationandadvice/CareandSupportJargonBuster/)

Definitions and language are important, but I’ve also been discovering that the right words are not always followed by the right actions. The NHS seems committed at policy level to person centred care and support building on peoples assets, but the reality is that health and social care services and funding streams are not as flexible and integrated as they might appear and the focus remains on services to fix problems. We all need to be careful of assuming that real change will follow good intentions. This is why we need the input of the people on the ground who can tell us what they know and what they need and how and if change is being delivered and experienced.

I look forward to meeting more Shared Lives scheme workers, Shared Lives carers and people who use Shared Lives in the coming months, as we steer our way together through uncharted waters in this exciting project.

Geraldine (Gerry) Cooney

 

This blog was written by Geraldine Cooney, NHS Programme Regional Officer, for Shared Lives Plus.

This “Scaling up Shared Lives in Health” blog will focus on Bolton, where the Bolton CCG, in conjunction with GMW and Bolton Council, have been successful in receiving NHS England funding to develop Shared Lives in the area.

The new funding will enable the Shared Lives scheme, which is run by Bolton Cares (Bolton Council’s local authority trading company), to offer more arrangements for vulnerable adults to stay with trained Shared Lives carers in family homes, as an alternative to being admitted to hospital or before they return to their own home after a hospital stay.

Shared Lives is already a popular option for older people in Bolton, but this funding will mean the scheme can expand, to offer more support to people with mental health needs and offer an alternative option for people following a stay in hospital, before they return home to their own homes.

Some people have had to move outside of Bolton to receive the support they need in specialist mental health settings, but this programme will work to bring people back into Bolton, but within the support of a family home to ensure they remain safe and well within their communities.

Bolton have run a well-established Shared Lives scheme for over 30 years, and on 31st July 2016, Bolton Care and Support Ltd began trading as Bolton Cares, to continue providing a range of care and support for adults in the community, of which the Shared Lives scheme is one of the options. 

The project will provide employment for 1 new co-ordinator at Bolton Cares in the first year, as well as self-employment opportunities for many more Shared Lives carers. The closing date for the co-ordinator post is 28th February, for details please see: http://www.boltoncares.org.uk/work-with-us/

Chief Executive of Bolton Cares, John Livesey, said: “Shared Lives a wonderful service that really works for the benefit of both service users and carers. The people who use our service become part of a loving family and our carers are experienced in what they do and get so much fulfilment from helping others.

“Since forming Bolton Cares as a not-for-profit company, this is the first major funding boost for us and shows commitment from our partners to developing and improving local adult social care services. We’re delighted with the outcome and looking forward to recruiting more carers and meeting new service users.”

Dr Wirin Bhatiani, Chair of NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Over the past few months NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group has been working in partnership with Shared Lives, Bolton Council and Greater Manchester Mental Health Services (GMMHS) on a bid to access match funding for a three year project with Shared Lives Plus and NHS England. 

“I am delighted that Bolton has been awarded this funding as one of only five CCG areas across England and Wales.  The bid concentrated on improving access to Shared Lives and as a result more positive outcomes for people with mental health needs and/or learning disabilities.”

Karen Wolstenholme, Registered Manager of Shared Lives in Bolton is “delighted with the success of being able to grow and expand services in this area and looks forward to successful “matching” which will enable people to live to their lives to their full potential in the community of their choice.”

 

Thursday, 02 February 2017 14:46

Evaluating the Impact of Shared Lives in Health

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As might be expected, 2017 so far has already been busy for the Scaling up Shared Lives in Healthcare team – we’ve been meeting with those involved with the matched funded projects, looking at opportunities for expansion, and we’ve also welcomed colleagues who can help us drive forward development in some of our key locations. Members of the team have also been spending time on the frontline of the NHS to experience at first hand the context in which we are working.

We’ll have more detail about all of the above developments in future blogs – but in addition to this, we have also started the process of finding a partner to help us evaluate the success of the project.

This work is important – as the findings will provide the basis for the evidence used to encourage the NHS to invest in Shared Lives at a local level.

At Shared Lives Plus we know that Shared Lives works. It delivers good outcomes, and independent reports tell us that it offers significant savings. We believe this because the people who use the service tell us – you can read about James and Andy’s story here and see how it worked for Jackie, Jason and others here.

As Shared Lives develops within an NHS context, building on its traditional foundations as a social care commissioned service, we need to be able to clearly illustrate, quantify and evidence how the model improves people’s lives and specifically delivers better health outcomes. We are confident this can be done – our Shared Lives is a Healthy Life report contains numerous stories of how Shared Lives resulted in better health outcomes; and in October, at the launch of the project, Shared Lives carer Andrea told us how the health of J had transformed because of Shared Lives.

This piece of work can build on these stories and capture robust data that we hope will show the benefits and savings of Shared Lives beyond those that we already know about. We expect it will illustrate clear benefits and value to not only social care, but the NHS too. As Shared Lives awareness continues to grow amongst social care professionals, this approach can form the basis of raising awareness and confidence amongst clinicians and healthcare professionals that Shared Lives can be of benefit to their patient populations, and importantly of value to health service budgets also.

If you, or your organisation, are interested in helping Shared Lives Plus evaluate the impact of Shared Lives in the NHS then you can download the information here.

As with any independent piece of research we won’t know, nor should we know, what the final outcome will be. We are however confident that along the way, whoever we work with on this will meet some amazing people, hear some incredible stories, and potentially play a small, but important role in changing how health and social care is offered and delivered to those who could benefit.

 

IMG 7i43ac   This week Fiona and I joined Sarah Storer and the team from the Derby City Shared Lives scheme at their local launch for the Scaling Up Shared Lives in Health Programme. Sarah and the team had organised for people from the local community, the council, health professionals, the local hospital and other third sector organisations to join them and learn more about what their plans are for the next 3 years.

 

We heard from a Shared Lives carer about a 6 month matching process with a lady who has now lived with her for a year, and we heard how their relationship had blossomed from the first day when they met on a hospital ward. If a Shared Lives match had not been made, the lady would have gone to live in residential care from a really young age, but having a team of Shared Lives families who now support her within their own, she lives a full and happy life in the community.

As we are focusing 10 weeks of our blog on each of the areas who are receiving match funding through the Scaling Up Shared Lives in Health Programme, we thought it was a good time to focus on Derby City and the Southern Derbyshire CCG.

Derby City Shared Lives scheme are a well-established scheme and will be receiving match funding through the programme to develop and expend their current Shared Lives service and plan to support an additional 40 people through from the specified target groups across the next 3 years:

  • People with dementia
  • People with a range of health needs/ diagnoses at risk of unnecessary admission to residential care or hospital

They will not only be looking for Shared Lives carers who live in Southern Derbyshire who could support people with long-term, live in Shared Lives but are also going to be looking for Shared Lives carers who want to offer short breaks and day support. Having a range of Shared Lives choices for people will enable people to not only chose Shared Lives, but be supported entirely in the community wherever possible.

Shared Lives Derby are no stranger to development work; for the last 12 months they have been developing Shared Lives specifically to extend their offer for people with mental ill health so that people can live and receive support in a family setting. Through this project they set up new referral pathways, set up new Shared Lives arrangements and made sure that a lot more people know about Shared Lives. This project has been a great success and has increased the number of referrals into the scheme, so much so that they are now receiving more referrals for people with dementia and those at risk of admission to hospital/residential care admission than they are able to support. The new match funding from NHS England and the Southern Derbyshire CCG will enable the scheme to continue to grow so that matches for these referrals can be found and more people can be supported in the community.

The Scaling Up Shared Lives in Healthcare programme is one part of wider plans for Derby City. Health and social care professionals in the city are working together pro-actively to ‘Break the Cycle’ of inappropriate and ineffective support, and Shared Lives has been identified as a key part to ‘breaking this cycle’.  This includes:

  • Preventing, reducing and delaying the need for formal social care in the community

  • Reducing dependence on long term formal care services following hospital discharge and to prevent avoidable admissions

  • Reducing the legacy costs of intensive support provided at home

The Step-up/ Step-down & DCC Social Work team at Royal Derby Hospitals will be trained to use Shared Lives as a route for medically fit people who need interim support to leave hospital.  Social workers and Shared Lives workers will jointly assess people for Shared Lives support.

 

The programme will also support Shared Lives carers to develop ‘dementia friendly’ and accessible homes through adaptations, purchase and provision / installations of aids / equipment.

At the local launch event, Derby City Shared Lives manager Sarah Storer said, “Shared Lives is for absolutely everyone. If someone is eligible for a package of care, then Shared Lives must be included in the options that are considered. In three years we hope that people talk as much about Shared Lives as they do about residential care and that many more people are supported to stay living well in their communities.  

 

 

Thursday, 24 November 2016 14:58

Learning more about the South Tees scheme

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Over the next ten weeks we will be focusing our “Scaling up Shared Lives in Health” blog on the five areas that have been announced to receive NHS England funding to develop Shared Lives in Health. The first area to feature is the South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who is investing in the Avalon Shared Lives scheme. We caught up with Mark Burdon and Rachel Lucas from South Tees CCG and Martyn Miller from Avalon and they had this to say about the Programme:

“We are investing in the project because we want to move from traditional services and packages of care to offering local people more personalised option and choice. Shared Lives Plus’s State of the Sector report shows that the North East has a disproportionately low uptake of Shared Lives schemes; by investing in our local Shared Lives scheme, this will help redress the regional inequality in access to this kind of community based provision that has arisen in the area over time.

As part of a ‘fast track’ area for Transforming Care, we have many people with learning disabilities and /or autism in hospital beds who need to be discharged into the community. Shared lives represents an option for these people to be supported in family homes. Our project in the South Tees area will focus particularly on ensuring that Shared Lives support is considered for:

  • People with learning disabilities and/or autism who are living with their families but where their family needs additional support and who are funded by Continuing Health Care (CHC)

  • People transitioning from children and young people’s provision into adult services e.g. foster care, who would prefer to remain in a family-type setting

  • People who currently receive respite in our bed-based, residential respite facilities but who would prefer to receive respite in a community setting.

As a CCG we have recently taken on responsibility for carrying out Care and Treatment Reviews (CTR) for our Transforming Care work, which is allowing us to gain a better understanding of people with learning disabilities and/or autism in inpatient units. In this way Shared Lives will support us in delivering our Transforming Care commitments and ensure that people get the support that they need in the community.

Martyn Miller from Avalon Shared Lives scheme had the following to say:

“We currently have a small number of Shared Lives carers in the area and we are pleased to be working with the CCG to develop new referral pathways into Shared Lives from health. We will be looking to recruit more Shared Lives carers in the South Tees area to expand our current scheme and offer local people a chance to be supported in family homes, either for long-term live in arrangements or for short breaks with a Shared Lives family to compliment other support.

The local council already know of Shared Lives and fund a small number of arrangements for people to live in a Shared Lives household but this will be the first time that the CCG have commissioned Shared Lives- they are the trailblazers.

When asked what he is most excited about the programme, Mark Burdon from South Tees CCG said, “It’s the opportunity to offer something that is personalised to people in the area. We have worked with other provider organisations in the past but this is the first time we will have worked with Shared Lives. We have tended to offer people medically traditional options and having a new pool of skilled Shared Lives carers who can support people in this way will improve many people’s quality of life.

In three years’ time we hope that Shared Lives will be as well-known as residential or homecare, and with that, the health and wellbeing of local people will be improved and they will receive support that they want, in a place that they want.

The north east has been chosen as an Accelerator Region and will therefore receive some additional support to develop Shared Lives across the region. We have been advertising in the local area for a part-time Regional Officer and we will be holding interviews for the role in the next week.

 

Scaling up Shared Lives in Healthcare - Learning more about our new partner areas

Fiona and Jenni have been promoting the Shared Lives and NHS England partnership and building relationships with the newly announced CCGs and Shared Lives schemes who will be taking the project forward. The five areas who will be receiving a share of NHS England funding to develop the Shared Lives model for health are Barnsley, Bolton, South Tees, Southern Derbyshire and a partnership of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester. For more information about these announcements click here.

As well as health being the focus of Shared Lives week, it was also the main theme at our England conference which took place in Bristol this week. We were thrilled to be joined by James Sanderson, Director of Personalisation and Choice and Eileen Mitchell from the Person Centred Care Team at NHS England for a full day of seminars, workshops and presentations. You will be able to read more about our health themed conference shortly and see a video of James Sanderson’s presentation.

As part of the programme, we have identified 2 Accelerator Regions which will support the scaling up of Shared Lives across a region. These regions have now been identified as the North East and the Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucester (BNSSG) regions. Next week we will be advertising to find a part time Regional Officer in each of the regions, vacancy details will be posted here

Over the next ten weeks we are going to do a feature on each of the five areas focusing on the schemes and projects that will benefit from the funding. We will be asking:

  • What is the outline of your project and who will it help?
  • How many people will benefit?
  • What support needs will you focus on?
  • How will you build partnerships with CCGs to develop Shared Lives?
  • What does success look like for your area in developing Shared Lives within health?

What do you believe the future looks like for Shared Lives within the NHS?

We value everyone who supports this programme, and we would like to offer you the opportunity to put forward any questions you have about the five areas receiving funding to develop Shared Lives in health.

You can do this by tweeting us @SharedLivesPlus or emailing Jenni Kirkham on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Fiona and Jenni were absolutely delighted to welcome the five successful CCGs schemes and Shared Lives carers and people they support to the Shared Lives Plus Parliamentary Reception on 19th October to officially launch the programme as part of Shared Lives week.

We are pleased to announce that the following CCG’s will be investing in their local Shared Lives schemes, to develop Shared Lives for people with health needs

  • Barnsley

  • Bolton

  • South Tees

  • Southern Derbyshire

  • and a partnership of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester CCGs

Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: “The five Shared Lives areas announced today have the chance to be at the forefront of delivering the kind of community and people-centred approach that will be a key part of NHS services in the future. It is vital that people with complex needs, including those with a learning disability and/or autism have the opportunity to benefit from the care, comfort and sense of independence that comes from living in a real family home.”

Barnsley, Bolton, South Tees along with Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester CCG’s were all represented at the exciting event. Southern Derbyshire CCG and Derby City Shared Lives scheme were not able to make it but we managed to represent them in a photo so they didn’t feel left out!

recep

 

Hello everyone and welcome to our latest blog on our work with NHS England. You may have recently seen Fiona Clark’s guest blog on the NHS England website, if not you can read it here.

Shared Lives Plus have had a hectic few weeks with the NHS programme, Fiona and Jenni are still travelling around the country on their journey to visit Shared Lives schemes and CCGs who are applying for match funding to develop Shared Lives for health in their area. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks for both, but they have been ‘privileged’ to meet so many dedicated people along the way.

Last week Fiona and Jenni took park in a Shared Lives Plus seminar on Intermediate Care, giving presentations and leading workshops.

 

intermediate care

 

There were nearly 70 delegates from across England and Wales and they were a mix of people such as health commissioners, hospital staff, social care workers and Shared Lives.

Jenni Kirkham, NHS Programme Officer says: “It was great to be with so many people who are keen to work with us to develop a Shared Lives model for Intermediate Care and the next year is going to be exciting to watch Shared Lives schemes recruiting carers who are ready to support people at their homes following a stay in hospital. “

The areas who are applying for match funding for the NHS England programme have until the end of September to get their final applications in to us. Shared Lives Plus and NHS England will be making the decision as to which areas will receive match funding in the first week of October and we hope to make the public announcement in mid-October, in Shared Lives week. Check out our Twitter account (@SharedLivesPlus) for updates on all NHS related information and announcements on Shared Lives Plus week, including the annual Parliamentary Reception on 19 October 2016.

With Jenni and Fiona travelling the country at the moment, working with and visiting schemes and CCGs, now is the perfect time for everyone to get to know the faces behind the great work that Shared Lives Plus is doing with NHS England.

This week we will be learning all about Jenni Kirkham, our NHS Programme Officer, who as all our staff will tell you is very enthusiastic about not only her   own work with the NHS but developing and spreading awareness of Shared Lives as a whole.

I sat down with Jenni earlier in the week for a chat about her career so far and her work with developing Shared Lives with the NHS.

Jenni, Can you tell me about your career so far and how it has lead to you working on the NHS programme for Shared Lives Plus?

“My career to date has been varied, but has the common denominator is that it has always involved working with people. In my early days I got a job at the local authority housing team, working in customer service and managing the housing allocations process with people. From there I moved into social services and trained as a community occupational therapist assistant, which meant I did assessments and then fitted equipment in people’s homes that meant they were able to live well at home.

I have worked as a deputy manager of a hostel for homeless families too. The idea of “home” seems to be quite central to my career; I spent the next 8 years as Care Manager of various Home Instead Senior Care companies in Merseyside. I have now worked for Shared Lives Plus for 18 months, the first 12 months I worked in Support and Quality, supporting Shared Lives schemes with guidance and queries. In 2014 I also spent a year out in Australia! I prepared to spend a year travelling from place to place, but I actually found a place I felt I could call home and settled there for 9 of the 12 months- once again reinforcing to me how important it is to have a place you can call home. “

Jenni, everyone at Shared Lives Plus admires your enthusiasm and you clearly enjoy your role, what is it you love about your work with the NHS?

“I love that I am able to work towards raising the profile of Shared Lives within health, where for many people Shared Lives is an entirely new concept. I find that working with the staff and carers at Shared Lives schemes is inspirational and I enjoy working with them to develop and grow their schemes, to enable more people to have the choice of living in a home with family around them.

Each time people hear of the ways in which a person has blossomed when being supported within a Shared Lives arrangement, it raises the expectations of what people can achieve and how people with long-term health conditions can live well in their community- no one should be limited to where or how they live, just because of a lack of options in their area forces them into inappropriate residential or institutional accommodation.”

You can read one of the amazing Shared Lives arrangements Jenni is referring to in the here

 

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