As a carer you can join for as little as £60!
If you would like to join as a Shared Lives Scheme then do get in touch with us for further information on Pricing
To join as a Shared Lives carer, you must be currently approved to provide Shared Lives care by a registered Shared Lives (or Adult Placement) scheme in the UK.
Shared Lives carers make their home available as a resource and may provide Shared Lives support to up to three people at any one time (some Shared Lives schemes have a local limit of two people).
Unlike care homes, Shared Lives carers do not employ staff to provide care to the people who they support. You can join as an individual, or with your partner, if s/he is also a Shared Lives carer.
As a member, you can expect: - Use of the free Shared Lives carers’ confidential helpline where you can obtain information advice and support from a dedicated national Carers Development Worker.
- FREE legal expenses cover (up to a maximum of £25000) if you have an allegation made against you as a Shared Lives carer resulting in you being taken to court and/or your Scheme is seekingto de-approve you as a carer.
- Free access to a legal helpline which you can use for advice on any relevant legal issue.
- Public Liability Insurance at a preferential rate as well as access to other insurance provision developed to meet the needs of Shared Lives carers.
- Three Shared Lives carer newsletters a year via post, which keep you up to date.- The opportunity to meet or get in touch with other carers, including through meetings, telephone conferences, an email group and a message board.
- A members-only area of the website containing resources which are free to members
Access to a wide range of toolkits and resources at members-only prices.
- Access to our annual Shared Lives carers’ breaks and conference.
- A conference for your home nation and/or for the UK, with a limited number of places for Shared Lives carers at supported rates.
- An open invitation to attend national network meetings (and regional meetings in England).- At least one seat on the board of Shared Lives Plus for an elected Shared Lives carer.
- A voice with local, regional and national decision makers and a programme of awareness-raising about Shared Lives and the work of Shared Lives carers.
My Shared Life is an online tracker for people who use Shared Lives and Shared Lives schemes to see the progress and positive life decisions they are making. It is a way to tell powerful stories with numbers, so that people who use, or set up and pay for Shared Lives can make informed decisions.
My Shared Life enables individuals to see their progress. Shared Lives carers can get valuable feedback from the individuals they support and schemes can use the evidence to develop their scheme in new areas. Shared Lives officers can use the questionnaires face to face with people using Shared Lives. My Shared Life then turns the data into charts and graphs that can be used to show, for example, the progress an individual has made with their physical well-being, or for a manager to show the outcomes for all those over 65 years old who use Shared Lives.
We developed it with people who are part of Shared Lives, Shared Lives carers, schemes and the PSSRU (Personal Social Services Research Unit) at Kent University, to chart the six areas of well-being unique to Shared Lives: family and personal relationships, involvement in the local community, occupation and participation, control over daily life, physical well-being and emotional well-being.
Since we launched My Shared Life, over 200 people have taken part and it has shown many differences between schemes, the areas they work in and the positive difference made by Shared Lives:
The more people who take part, the more interesting and valuable the data becomes for everyone using it.
Call for an evaluation partner for Scaling up Shared Lives in health
We are looking for an evaluation partner to establish the costs, enablers, impacts and any advantages to people and local health systems who use Shared Lives. We will use this evaluation to inform future funding and development decisions.
Our “Scaling Up Shared Lives in Health” programme runs from 2016 to March 2021 and will result in 2,000 people with health needs being supported by Shared Lives carers. NHS England have invested £1.75m and seven CCGs have match funded local developments, with further CCGs coming on board without match funding.
Shared Lives is where a person who needs extra support, in this case, with their health, moves in with or visits an approved Shared Lives carers. Together they share home and community life. It is an alternative to “conventional” care and accommodation models used by the NHS, which is potentially lower cost and more person-centred, reflecting the intended system and culture shifts of the Personalised Care agenda.
The deadline for bids is 5pm, Thursday 12 March at 5pm.
In a safeguarding scenario, Shared Lives carers may be the alleged source of risk, the person at risk of abuse or neglect, or the supporter of a person who is at risk of abuse. They can sometimes feel powerless and uninformed, especially if the person using Shared Lives has been moved out of their home without being consulted and / or against their wishes.
It is essential that Shared Lives carers are part of a multi-disciplinary team which is supporting the person to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) consistently rates Shared Lives as one of the safest and most effective forms of care and support and this continues to remain the case under their new inspection regime. In The State of Adult Social Care Services 2014 – 2017, CQC found that Shared Lives services outperformed all other forms of regulated care in inspections.
We have jointly developed these top tips with ADASS, Association for Directors of Adult Social Services. They are for schemes, Shared Lives carers, health and local authorities to ensure that best practice can be followed when a person using Shared Lives is believed to be at risk of harm and/or a safeguarding concern is raised. It is essential to ensure that the person’s wishes are paramount and that the professionals involved understand the difference between a Shared Lives arrangement and other forms of care and support. Shared Lives carers can call our helpline to discuss safeguarding issues and must be Members of Shared Lives Plus to receive support.
We know Shared Lives can make a real difference to help people with dementia to live well. An independent report generated by PPL supports this, finding that Shared Lives offers several key advantages as a model of support for people with dementia..
The report found that Shared Lives carers were perfectly placed to offer respite support to family carers, with Shared Lives arrangements able to reduce social isolation and the chance of breakdown for those carers and to help increase their general wellbeing significantly. Crucially, it also said that those suffering from dementia, on average, experienced increased independence, wellbeing and personal choice, and were less likely to experience isolation and confusion in Shared Lives arrangements.
As we enter the NHS’ 70th year, personal health budgets represent an important route towards creating a more personalised and responsive NHS, enabling people to make new choices, take control and share responsibility for their health and wellbeing. Voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations (VCSE) are ideally placed to support the NHS to introduce and offer new kinds of support which can be chosen with a personal health budget.
This newly published report from Shared Lives Plus in partnership with NHS England, demonstrates how VCSE organisations are driving innovation and supporting personal health budget expansion across the country, working in partnership with statutory services to provide a range of advice, support and care services, which fit around the lives of the people and community they are designed to support.
Health commissioners, professionals and VCSE organisations are in a unique position to enable many more people to use personal health budgets, commissioning and offering new kinds of support to choose and purchase.
With close to 18,000 people now in receipt of personal health budgets, and this number on the increase, this report provides a timely set of recommendations for both VCSE organisations and NHS leaders, to help ensure that more people can benefit from comprehensive, joined up and more personalised NHS care, this year and in the years to come.
Despite paying her mortgage regularly, Sarah Bannon, a Shared Lives carer from Southampton, found the mortgage lender would not release her ex-husband from the mortgage after her divorce, as they said she could not prove her earnings.
Sarah said, “I suspect it's a situation many carers could find themselves in. Although it was just part of life, I just wanted to say thank you to Shared Lives Plus, as it was not easy to sort out, without their support”.
The admin team directed her to Judith Holman, from our Carer Support team who put her in touch with Endsleigh Mortgage Brokers who are experienced in dealing with Shared Lives carers.
Sarah said, “I was delighted with the service and advice that both Shared Lives Plus and Endsleigh gave me. I’ve now got a mortgage alone and my ex-husband and I have both been able to move on after years of this hanging over us.”
In this blog, Executive Director, Anna McEwen, shares her experience about taking Shared Lives to Australia
In October, I was lucky enough to travel to Adelaide in South Australia to work with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) and the Wyatt Trust (a grant funder organisation). I have been talking with Carolyn Curtis, CEO of TACSI, for around three years while they have watched how Shared Lives has grown in the UK. As an innovation charity, they have been considering how they could bring the model to Australia where currently people are mainly supported in traditional and more institutional models of care and support.
With the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Australia, a nationwide funding allocation scheme for all who need care and support to receive their budget in the same way following the same process ensuring a more equitable service across the country, it seems a timely moment to explore more creative and community based options making use of the assets already existing within communities.
I was commissioned by TACSI to produce a feasibility study and business case to support the development of the Shared Lives model. So, I needed a trip down under to really get a sense of the place, the barriers and opportunities and also the enthusiasm amongst stakeholders including providers, people who use services, family carers, local, state and federal government.
My experience of Australians has always been that they are super-friendly, far more so than us Brits, but I lost count of the number of people who told me about their ‘quarter acre blocks’ as in Australian film ‘The Castle’: A man’s home is his castle. It is very much the ‘Australian dream’ for people to own their own home and this has led to a disconnected sense of community in some places. However, in rural and regional Australia things are different, it is a small town way of life; everyone knows everyone and everyone’s business too. While this is some people’s view, I saw many examples of community activity and engagement, people giving their time and using their skills to help and support others and when I talked to people in local communities about Shared Lives the response was overwhelmingly positive.
During my couple of weeks in Adelaide I ran workshops with stakeholders, met with key people in the various layers of Government across the country and spoke with providers who are already providing services that look something like the Shared Lives model. There are different challenges in Australia compared to the UK that are identified in the feasibility study, but none that cannot be overcome to offer people an alternative to more traditional forms of care and to enjoy a good life with people they choose to share their life and time with.
So, after two weeks of spring sunshine in Adelaide I headed back to London to write up my report which says overwhelmingly that there is a strong business case and rationale to establish Shared Lives in Australia and with the learning we have from the development across the UK Shared Lives Plus is happy to continue to support this.
Alistair Burt MP hosted our annual parliamentary event in the House of Commons with the theme of how Shared Lives supports people with mental ill health last week.
Liz Kendall MP, Cllr Richard Kemp representing the Local Government Association and Margaret Willcox, Gloucester's adult social care Director and President of the Directors' association, ADASS all gave passionate speeches supporting Shared Lives Plus. The highlight as ever though was the hosting by ambassadors Michael Turner and Dipan Patel, and an inspiring speech by the Shared Lives carer, Alison Cooper, who appears in the film we premiered.
Shared Lives supports people with mental ill health to live significantly better lives, with stronger emotional wellbeing and greater connection to their local community.
With Government support, Shared Lives Plus could recruit thousands more carers to support 5,000 more people who need extra support to live
well – saving over £16m across the UK. Shared Lives offers support that money can’t buy. People with mental ill health say that as part of a Shared Lives family their lives become more stable, they rebuild and make new relationships and pursue personal interests in the community.
Currently, £1.2bn is spent on supporting people with mental ill health - 7% of what is
spent supporting all adults with social care needs. Supporting someone with mental health needs costs about £800 per week in traditional care homes or services. In Shared Lives, it costs around £400 per week.
You can read Alison’s speech and catch up with the speeches on videos below:
Our aim was to invite MPs to visit their local scheme, so if you have not yet invited your MP to visit and would like to, please go ahead!
We asked PSSRU, an international research agency to evaluate our work that is growing and developing Shared Lives across the UK. This report looks at the impact of our work with Shared Lives carers, schemes and people who use Shared Lives.
Our original aim, more than two years ago, was to double the Shared Lives sector - and we are funded by the Big Lottery to do this. We are not where we had hoped to be, but the ambitions were set before austerity hit with drastic cuts to social care which pays for many people to live with Shared Lives carers.
The report shows that over half of the schemes had started supporting new groups of people, mainly people with mental ill health and people with dementia. But there are significant challenges for schemes to overcome to support more people with this, and schemes feel supported by Shared Lives Plus.
We will include our Members' feedback into our operational plans for next year - thank you to everyone who took part.
Geraldine Cooney, NHS Programme Regional Officer for Shared Lives Plus, writes a guest blog about her work with NHS England.
Six Shared Lives carers supporting people with health needs, recently talked to Lindsay, Shared Lives Officer and I about their experience in Portsmouth. They were full of insights and advice on all aspects of how Shared Lives supports people with health needs, raising some questions and issues that we will have to address, as well as coming up with ideas to help make the project a success.
Throughout our conversations I was struck by the Shared Lives carers matter-of-fact commitment to the health of the people they supported. They tackled health problems and issues as they arose - as they would with any family member – and saw health related tasks as part and parcel of their role. Their belief in Shared Lives as intrinsically health and life enhancing came through loud and clear. They were in no doubt about the value of what they do, and the rewards they could see in front of them seemed to counteract the demanding nature of their role.
These Portsmouth Shared Lives carers people were providing a home for people with substantial and complex issues from epilepsy and diabetes to people living with mental ill health, self-harm and incontinence. They had initiated reviews of medication, become adept at administering injections and developed ongoing relationships with health professionals. As issues developed and chang
ed over time they said they ‘just got on with it’, gaining skills and expertise as they went along, together with the person they lived with. Being at home is ideal for re-gaining skills and confidence, especially after a hospital stay, but they stressed that the person should feel ready and be safe for discharge. They warned that although most health professionals did not understand their role – they thought one couple were running a care home – once staff were aware of the support they gave this could be exploited. One Shared Lives carer described how the person she supports is regularly discharged too early after episodes of mental ill health, simply because of the high level of support hospital staff know she and her husband will provide. For Lindsay and I, this highlighted how important it is to raise health professionals’ awareness of Shared Lives to improve communication, respect and joint working.
But perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised that Shared Lives carers were not fazed by the idea of supporting people with even greater health needs, when they are already doing such a wide-reaching job and have been doing so for many years. They all agreed that a Shared Lives carer should be ready for anything. We were given advice on recruiting Shared Lives carers, with the warning that if they had seen a job description in advance outlining the demands of their role, it might have put them off! For them, it was clearly all about the person, the connection felt and relationships made, rather than the tasks performed. They stressed the importance of keeping the Shared Lives model, maintaining the matching process and getting full information about each person’s background (not just medical history) before the arrangement started. They raised other important issues for the project such as house adaptations, accessibility issues and slow referrals that might cause Shared Lives carers to lose patience whilst waiting for matches.
The issue of pay came up; they felt the extra demands of their role should be reflected in their payment. For example, if somebody had complex health needs requiring them to stay at home during the day, or perhaps to be waking up at night, this should be recognised. But adequate respite for holidays and breaks was more important to them than pay – they said the basic four weeks of holiday should be increased for more demanding arrangements. Importantly, these Shared Lives carers stressed how important it was to them that the person in the arrangement was happy with the respite care provided. Several Shared Lives carers told us that they found it hard to explain to people why they had to move out of their home, and go somewhere not of their choosing for respite provision. They said that this was a worry and a problem that affected their own enjoyment of their break, and didn’t fit the family model, where you would naturally arrange your own cover for people who lived with you when you went on holiday. They said having a back up carer involved from the start of an arrangement would help everybody relax and enjoy their breaks.
These Shared Lives carers were great advocates for the people they lived with – and they understood their perspective might be different to their own. They could see that once people had found a safe, comfortable, happy home life in Shared Lives it might be difficult to give it up after health funding ended. ‘Who would want to leave?…it’s a no brainer.’ The conversation returned many times to the fact that it was the person’s home as well as their own, and that it was important that they all had choice and control over what happens within the arrangement, including when it ends.
I enjoyed meeting and learning from these Portsmouth Shared Lives carers. What struck me was that practical issues took second place to their overall concern for well-being of their Shared Lives family. One Shared Lives carer who had space for someone and was interested in working in health, talked of the possible impact on her existing family dynamic if she was matched with somebody with higher needs. She was considering the feelings of her existing match who might be jealous of her giving more time and attention to a newcomer. This sensitivity and consideration would be expected in the context of an ‘ordinary family’, and it reminded me once again of what makes Shared Lives and Shared Lives Shared Lives carers so unique and valuable.
Shared Lives Plus held their biggest UK conference and celebrated 25 years of giving peace of mind and a powerful voice to its Members this week.
Over 200 delegates, including Shared Lives carers and schemes, and HomeShare schemes and sharers, health and social care leaders, travelled from around the UK to take part in a range of workshops about personal and community based support which helps people live well. The event was opened by The Right Worshipful The Lord Mayor, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy and co-chaired by Shared Lives Ambassadors, Lisa Capewell and Phoebe Verity, alongside Dyane Aspinall, Interim Director of Adult Social Care, Liverpool City Council. The charity is celebrating their anniversary in Liverpool where the first Shared Lives scheme was set-up, which is now run by PSS.
Alex Fox, CEO, Shared Lives Plus, said: “This year’s conference is our biggest so far, celebrating 25 years as a national membership organisation, supporting Shared Lives schemes in almost every area of the UK and 10,000 carers who open their homes to support people who need extra support to live well. We are proud of how far we’ve come and look forward to growing Shared Lives and HomeShare to help build stronger relationships and local communities.”
Tony Hunter, Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence was our passionate and entertaining keynote speaker who has supported Shared Lives Plus’ work for many years. He said, “It is great to celebrate Shared Lives Plus’ milestone anniversary and to speak at their biggest conference in history. Across health and social care, we continue to have national and local discussions which re-imagine how the social care sector can support people to lead good lives, in good places for people with long-term support needs. Shared Lives Plus is working in partnership with the NHS towards providing better care for patients leaving hospital. Shared Lives and Homeshare are a big part of these discussions, they have been around for a long time and are innovative models from across the world.”
He added, "Shared Lives Plus punches above their weight, with humility. You show that when you look at people's strengths, you get far better outcomes and live well."
The workshop presentations and hopefully recordings of the key notes speeches will be available to Members online next week.
Shared Lives Plus is celebrating a significant update to tax law, as the result of extensive discussions with government on behalf of Members – and announced in the Autumn Budget this week.
The new law ensures clarity that Shared Lives carers can continue to claim tax relief when they support people who pay for their own care. It confirms fairness in the tax relief for Shared Lives carers, whether they support people who pay for their own care, or whether councils or health authorities pay for it. Shared Lives Plus worked closely with government colleagues and other partners to secure national government policy that fully recognises the role and needs of Shared Lives carers – especially its Members.
We applaud HMRC and Treasury officials for listening to us and the sector on this issue and for recognising the benefits of growing Shared Lives as a cost-effective, community-based model of social care and increasingly healthcare. The Budget says government wants to “encourage the use of Shared Lives care” and we will continue to work with them to enable our Members to support people who need extra support to live well.
Many across the health and social care sector were disappointed that the Autumn Budget failed to tackle the gaping hole in long-term funding. We will continue to fight, alongside other organisations, for investment and change in the health and social care systems.
We are keen to work with government on drafting the relevant legislation for the new tax break - Qualifying Care Relief - to be as effective as possible. It will enable many more people who need extra support to use Shared Lives and live well and resolves a situation which could have financially penalised some Shared Lives carers. We are delighted that many more people who have support needs will be able to live well in the community as a result.
The relevant passage of the Budget is on page 33:
3.17 Qualifying Care Relief (QCR) and self-funded Shared Lives payments – QCR is a tax simplification covering expenses incurred when providing care that means carers only need to keep simple records. The government will extend the scope of QCR to cover self-funded Shared Lives care payments, to encourage the use of Shared Lives care.
Join us online - Wednesday 22 November, 9.15am - 10.30am
For the first time we have set up a way for you to listen in to the key note speakers at the Shared Lives Plus national conference.
Please bear with us if it doesn’t work! We are also recording them, so hopefully we can send them to you afterwards.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy
Dyane Aspinall, Interim Director of Adult Social Care Liverpool City Council, Lisa Capewell and Phoebe Verity, Shared Lives Plus Ambassadors
9.45am “Pack, Bin, Buy – What we do like, what we don’t like and what we would like for our Shared Lives”
Lisa Capewell, Phoebe Verity and Michael Turner, Shared Lives Ambassadors
10.00am Keynote Speech
Tony Hunter Chief Executive, Social Care Institute for Excellence
Please log in by 9.10am to make sure you can hear.
Or, if you can’t install the app, please click on the below link to join the meeting and see the speaker, using your internet browser and use your phone to the dial in free of charge to listen in.
dial in number: 0800 229 1458