DHSC have sent a letter to council Directors of Adult Social Care in England this week to ask for support for Shared Lives carers and suggest ways of sustaining their valuable social care roles, as many carers have lost income or day support and short breaks work during Covid-19.
The letter recognises the ‘important work [that] 10,000 Shared Lives Carers throughout the country are continuing to do to care for individuals in their homes. CQC currently rates the sector 96% good or outstanding, and Shared Lives carers and their families provide huge amounts of informal support in addition to the personal care for which they are paid.’
Shared Lives Plus have been working closely with DHSC, Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services to recognise the pressure that Shared Lives carers are facing. This is particularly important in light of the Treasury’s SEISS scheme not being a route that most Shared Lives carers will be able to take to reclaim lost income, apart from those who are earning above the QCR tax threshold.
Many councils are already supporting Shared Lives carers through ‘paying on plan’ for those that have lost income, or offering extra to meet the additional caring and living costs of providing a 24/7 service (where Shared Lives cannot statutorily be a 24/7 service).
The letter recommends that Shared Lives providers may have capacity to pick up care and support for other individuals, and welcomes priority testing for Shared Lives carers and those they support to enable day support and short breaks to restart.
Alex Fox, Shared Lives Plus CEO, says, “We are delighted that DHSC have recognised the unique nature and opportunity of Shared Lives carers opening their homes and lives to care for young people and adults – and the enormous pressure they are facing during Covid-19. Shared Lives care offers one of the safest and best quality environments to be during a pandemic – in a family home, with people you know and love. It needs the attention and investment of local councils to sustain these extraordinary carers and rebuild our communities to be more personal, flexible and stronger.”
“We encourage our members, Shared Lives schemes and carers, to have constructive conversations with councils about their support and promote Shared Lives locally.”
For more information about our support for Shared Lives carers, adapting Shared Lives care, including guidance for commissioners, or any other enquiries, please log in to your membership account (yellow button above) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read Alex Fox’s latest blog on rebuilding society and social care