Government Minister gives backing to major new report showing “Shared Lives” care transforming lives of disabled adults and older people across England
• First ever national report into state of Shared Lives care across England
• Findings show approach is delivering better lives for nearly 10,000 people nationally
• Shared Lives sector could deliver Health and Care savings of £150m if good examples are mirrored nationally
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The first ever large scale report into Shared Lives care in England has shown how almost 10,000 disabled and vulnerable adults are enjoying improved lives as a result of living in Shared Lives arrangements.
Shared Lives is a radical form of care that centres on sharing home, family and community life, in supporting older and disabled adults to lead fulfilling and active lives. Uniquely, it enables people from all kinds of backgrounds to draw on their families, friends and neighbours in supporting some of our most isolated and vulnerable citizens, using the Shared Lives carer’s own family home.
The independent countrywide study has calculated that 9660 people are currently* being supported in Shared Lives arrangements in England. Many have been shown to be enjoy more fulfilling lives as a result of Shared Lives, with over 90% making new friends as a result, half going on holiday for the first time, and over a quarter of users joining a club not exclusively for disabled people for the first time in their lives.”
Shared Lives has also been independently proven to provide significant savings compared with traditional forms of adult care – and the report estimates that if every region in England were to catch up with same the level of Shared Lives provision as the highest performing area, then savings of £150m per year could be realised.
Alex Fox, Chief Executive of Shared Lives Plus, the UK network for Shared Lives schemes and carers said:
“This report is the first ever nationwide analysis of the Shared Lives sector in England – showing how Shared Lives helps people who in some cases have been seen as ‘too challenging’ to live better lives, whilst providing major savings for taxpayers. It also shows how the sector is growing across the country, with 90% of schemes looking to recruit new Shared Lives carers, and many
others expanding the Shared Lives model to provide support for other groups such as Older People”
“I am delighted that Care Minister Norman Lamb has welcomed this report, and recognises the amazing work that Shared Livers carers and workers do every day”
“This study shows the potential for Shared Lives to transform not just the lives of individuals, but also help transform our Adult Social care system by delivering major savings and improved benefits, at a time when an ageing population and falling budgets are presenting the NHS and local authorities with a uniquely difficult challenge”
The report was commissioned by Shared Lives Plus and based on research carried out by academics at Worcester University. Shared Lives Plus recently received government and Big Lottery funding support to double the size of Shared Lives in England – and the study illustrates the potential for growth in the sector, and the savings that could be achieved if best practice is followed across the country.
It is clear from the report that although Shared Lives reaches 10,000 people, the vast majority of the public, and even many professionals, have never heard of it. It illustrates how there are Shared Lives schemes in almost every local authority area in England – but there are significant variations in size and scale. If areas with small or low provision were to catch up with those areas with larger provision then nationally, savings of £150m could be made.
For media enquiries or to arrange an interview please call the Communications Team on 0151 227 3499 or Tim Moore on 07881 521269.
Shared Lives Plus is the UK network of family-based or very small scale care, support and inclusion approaches for disabled or older people. Our membership of 4,800 includes Shared Lives carers and local Shared Lives schemes.
In Shared Lives, an adult (and in some cases 16 or 17 year old) who needs support and/or accommodation moves in with or regularly visits an approved Shared Lives carer, after they have been matched for compatibility. Together, they share family and community life. In many cases the individual becomes a settled part of a supportive family, although Shared Lives is also used as day support, as breaks for unpaid family carers, as home from hospital care and as a stepping stone for someone to get their own place.
Shared Lives is used by people with learning disabilities, people with mental health problems, older people, care leavers, disabled children becoming young adults, parents with learning disabilities and their children, people who misuse substances and (ex-) offenders. Shared Lives schemes are regulated by the government’s social care inspectors, the Care Quality Commission, who in 2010 rated Shared Lives as being twice as likely to be ‘excellent’ as all other forms of regulated care. Figures from care inspectors suggest it has perhaps the best safeguarding record in social care.
Web address: www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk
Follow us on Twitter: @SharedLivesPlus