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.