This short briefing has all the information you need to explore how you can practically offer people with learning disabilities, mental ill health, dementia, stroke, as well as other long term conditions, a new way to avoid a long time in hospital or a nursing facility, to recover from an illness or operation, and to pursue a good life amongst people who can offer just the right support.
Shared Lives is one of the practical approaches the health system can offer to make personalised care a reality. It’s not new: 12,000 people already live with or regularly visit their chosen Shared Lives carer, all across England. Shared Lives has a 40-year history as a form of social care, which enables people to live as part of a supportive household rather than living in a care home, or to visit their Shared Lives carer, rather than visiting a day centre or having ‘respite’ breaks in a residential service.
England’s 125 local Shared Lives services have developed a reputation as one of the most personalised forms of care, with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) consistently rating it as the best-performing model of regulated social care. The sector’s membership charity, Shared Lives Plus, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working together to help NHS commissioners and providers to build on Shared Lives’ success in social care, to develop it as a new choice of health care.
Shared Lives challenges assumptions about how healthcare services should behave. At its heart is a belief that for people who need long term support to live healthy, happy lives, the often-intimate support they need cannot come from a succession of strangers. Instead it can be offered by a small, consistent group of people whom they have chosen, and who are personally committed to them, not just as ‘patients’ but as people.