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About the Shared Lives scheme

Shared Lives carers share their family and community life with someone who needs support.

The Shared Lives scheme matches people who need additional support to be independent and live on their own, with carers and their families. 

New skills and independence 

Sharing a family’s life means that people who need support can choose to become part of an ordinary household, instead of staying in residential care or being looked after by a team of support workers. 

People using the scheme make new friends, develop new skills and gain the confidence to be as independent as possible, helping to reduce isolation and allowing them to stay living independently for longer.  

Some people use the Shared Lives Scheme as a way of learning the skills they need to live independently and to help them put down roots in the area or community before moving into a place of their own.

Different arrangements

The scheme offers different types of arrangements: 

  • Day care - Supporting a person for a few hours per day but not overnight.
  • Short breaks - Providing a short break for a person. This can be anything from one night to a few weeks at a time and may be a one-off or on a regular basis.
  • Emergency care - When support is needed urgently, for example, the same or next day, without time for introductory visits.
  • Long term care / permanent arrangement - When the plan is for a person to live long term with a carer, that is, anything over three months.
  • Trial period - Before an arrangement takes place there is always a trial period, which will vary according to individual circumstances.

Contact us to find out more about the role of a Shared Lives carer and the type of arrangement that would work best for you. 

Regulating the scheme

The Shared Lives Scheme is registered and regularly inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Our latest report and rating can be found online.

Highlights of the March 2019 report

Inspectors rated 'outstanding' our approach to caring and 'good' across the board in all aspects of the service.

The report went on: 'The service is designed to carefully match people to households which in turn contributes to creating a personal touch and a strong, visible person-centred approach.'

'The scheme exceeded in recognising what was fundamental to people's individual diverse needs and ensured placements were tailored to match people's spiritual needs, cultural wishes and choices. Where shared lives family members were of different heritage and backgrounds we saw evidence of how shared lives carers went to exceptional lengths to ensure other professionals and services acted in people's best interests.'

Read more in our news item.