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.