NHS England has announced a £1.75m investment in a family-based initiative to help more people to be cared for in a home, not a hospital.
People using the scheme may have learning disabilities, dementia, mental health problems or other needs which require long or short term support. It will offer them the opportunity to either live with their matched and approved Shared Lives carer, or visit them regularly for day support or overnight breaks.
This new investment from NHS England will mean funding and support is being made available to Clinical Commissioning Groups to enable:
- People with learning disabilities to move out of medical institutions into ordinary family homes
- People recovering from strokes and other health crises to receive their step down care in a Shared Lives household
- Live-in mental health support including acute support as an alternative to hospital-based treatment
- Dementia support including day support and short breaks for family carers
With Shared Lives, an adult (and sometimes a 16/17 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. Half of the 12,000 people using Shared Lives are living with their Shared Lives carer as part of a supportive household; half visit their Shared Lives carer for day support or overnight breaks. Shared Lives is also used as a stepping stone for someone to get their own place. The outcomes can be startling, with people reporting feeling settled, valued and like they belong for the first time in their lives. They make friends (a third make five or more friends through Shared Lives) and get involved in clubs, activities and volunteering, often for the first time. Half of people using Shared Lives went on their first ever holiday, as a result of the support and companionship of their Shared Lives carer.