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News from Shared Lives Plus

Thursday, 26 October 2017 11:29

Our response to 'Airbnb care rooms'

In response to media coverage 26.10.17

Shared Lives care about people who come out of hospital, especially older people and others who need extra support to live well. Shared Lives is all about the relationship match between Shared Lives carers and people coming out of hospital. We know that when people have chosen who they are going to share with, and are part of a family, they recover more quickly.

We have a long 40 year history of working in social care and we are proven to be one of the safest forms of care – for the last three years 92% of schemes have been rated by the CQC as outstanding or good, and none have been rated inadequate. Local Shared Lives schemes have the back up of a national network and quality assurance, regulation and inspection: this is essential to maintaining the sector’s exceptional safeguarding record.

We welcome innovation in health and social care services, for us it is not about cost-cutting – it’s about putting people first, building strong relationships and safety to recover and live well.

For any other questions, media enquiries, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07392 313 500.

Read Alex Fox, CEO's blog - 'More than a room'

About Shared Lives

Shared Lives is a long-established, regulated and researched home-based support model which has a long history in social care and more recently has been developed to offer home from hospital and other kinds of healthcare, with the backing of the Dept Health and NHS England.

Shared Lives carers are recruited by their local CQC-registered Shared Lives scheme and put through a rigorous 3 – 6 month approval process, before being carefully matched with an adult who needs support.  Together, they share family and community life. Half of the14,000 people using Shared Lives move in with their Shared Lives carer to live as part of their household; half visit for day support or overnight breaks. 

Shared Lives is used by a people with a wide range of long-term support needs including learning disabilities, mental health problems, physical or sensory impairments. Some are older people with dementia, who typically use Shared Lives instead of visiting a care home when their family needs a break from caring. Some, such as care leavers and young disabled adults, learn independent living skills and put down roots in the community, to enable them to move into their own place without becoming isolated. Home from hospital care is a recent but promising development which has Dept Health funding.

Shared Lives in health

There are nearly 10,000 Shared Lives carers. They are all approved following rigorous recruitment and training by one of the UK’s 150 regulated local schemes. The Care Quality Commission rates Shared Lives as 92% good or excellent: better than all other forms of social care.

NHS England and seven NHS trusts are investing over £2m in scaling up Shared Lives as a new form of healthcare. When Shared Lives is used by, for instance, people recovering from stroke, the same safeguarding and matching processes are adapted to enable the patient to meet a potential Shared Lives carer and make a choice as to whether to stay in their house. The Shared Lives scheme supports and monitors the match. There is also a project specifically at supporting people being discharged from hospital which has funding from the Department of Health and Dunhill Medical Trust in 7 pilot sites.

What is the difference between Shared Lives and ‘Airbnb care rooms’?

The success of Shared Lives, which is now present in almost every UK area, stems from its values and practices which are very different from those reported about ‘care rooms’:

  • The well-being of the person coming out of hospital is put first, along with their choice and match with a Shared Lives carer.
  • Shared Lives carers are trained and paid to support and include someone in their family life, their incentive is not to make money (unlike the reports in the headlines). People in Shared Lives households enjoy meals and other social times together as a household.
  • Shared Lives relationships are often very long lasting: some people have lived together or remained important parts of each other’s lives for decades.
  • The local Shared Lives scheme has the back up of a national network, policies, procedures, outcome measuring tools, quality assurance system, regulation and inspection: this is essential to maintaining the sector’s exceptional safeguarding record.
  • We believe that people’s health, wellbeing and independence are closely linked: people recover well in Shared Lives households from a hospital stay because they feel part of a supportive household and their community again.

Shared Lives is already independently shown to be lower cost and less risky way of supporting someone than traditional forms of care. It already helps thousands of people to live healthy, happy lives. For us innovation is not about cost cutting – we prioritise strong relationships and safety to live well.   

For any other questions, media enquiries, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call 07392 313 500.

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