Care Rooms, a scheme where people leaving hospital can pay for a spare room, kitted out with the latest technology, in someone's house is in the news after re-launching in Cambridgeshire. It sounds similar to Shared Lives, but there are key differences in the models.
Alex Fox, CEO, Shared Lives Plus, says, “We know that the NHS is under extreme pressure and we strongly believe in innovative approaches designed with people who use them. We are delighted to be working with the NHS to explore how Shared Lives – with its 40 year history of supporting thousands of people with long-term support needs – can be used in a ground-breaking approach for people leaving hospital.
Care Rooms has been compared to Shared Lives, but there are some very significant distinctions. As a charity, we have always been focussed on creating supportive relationships between people which they choose, strengthening their mutual wellbeing and connection to each other and their communities – one of our greatest health needs. Shared Lives is rated the safest of all UK social care services according to the Care Quality Commission.
Over 10,000 trained and approved Shared Lives carers in nearly every area of the UK have opened up their homes and community lives to share with someone – leading to extraordinarily ordinary lives for thousands of people who need support ranging from mental ill health, learning disabilities, dementia and domestic abuse. Everyone involved chooses who to share their lives with. Through Homeshare schemes, we also support around 400 mainly older people who want to give something back and have a spare room. Homeshare is a compassionate way to offer people on a lower wage a start in life and the chance to learn new skills, in exchange for help around the home – keeping loneliness at bay.
Shared Lives has been tried and tested over our 40 year history. Over 150 CQC regulated local schemes consistently provide the safest form of care across all social care services. We have been backed by NHS England, Department of Health and seven CCGs with £1.75m to develop Shared Lives including to support people who have short and long-term health needs to recover from hospital in their own communities. We are excited about the potential to support many more people as they leave from 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.
To find out more about how Shared Lives can support your health - check out the key differences between Care Rooms and Shared Lives and our work in health with NHS England