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Shared Lives helps Christina home from NHS hospital

In Barnsley, the Shared Lives scheme has been working in partnership with Barnsley CCG and people are beginning to benefit from Shared Lives in ways they haven’t been able to before - after NHS treatment.

Christina had been in hospital for an operation after a recent diagnosis of breast cancer. She received good news that the operation had been successful. Whilst planning her discharge, it was agreed that she would benefit from a short period of care whilst she recovered. Christina and the gentleman she usually lives with both have a learning disability, but he was going to be on holiday when she was ready to leave the hospital. On leaving hospital her goals were:

  • To return to good health, both physically and emotionally
  • To return back to her own home
  • To be able to get back into the community
  • To re-establish her own routines in a home environment

As Barnsley Shared Lives scheme were one of the “Scaling up Shared Lives in health” sites, they had a partnership arrangement with the hospital and there was NHS funding in place so that Christina could choose to use Shared Lives upon discharge.

She was given exercises to do on a daily basis, every hour or so, to gently stretch her arms. Her Shared Lives carer Jenny supported Christina to do these exercises throughout her stay. As it was important to prepare for going back home, Jenny took Christina to do jobs like putting the bins out together. Keeping things ticking over at Christina’s own home helped her to prepare for going back to her own home after the stay with Jenny.

Christina will require radiotherapy treatment in the future which may potentially leave her with some side effects which might be difficult for her to manage in her own home. Due to the success of the stay with Jenny, there is a further option to refer back in to Shared Lives should the circumstances require this.

This example from Barnsley shows that although Shared Lives is mainly considered to be a model of social care, where Shared Lives carers share family life and support people with personal care and daily living, it can be the right kind of support for people during times of ill health too.

In many cases, the needs of people who are able to access NHS funding are not dissimilar from those who are able to access social care funding. Shared Lives is about so much more than providing the practical support people need during times of ill health; Shared Lives carers and their families are able to provide the emotional support alongside this. For many, this is what makes all the difference during their recovery.

If Shared Lives had not been available, Christina would have had limited options available to her.

Well doe to everyone in Barnsley who has helped to get this pilot off the ground and to the Shared Lives scheme workers and Shared Lives carers who have made new arrangements like this happen.