Shared Lives is a little known, but important, alternative to home care and care homes for people in need of support. Shared Lives offers personalised, quality care where carers share their lives and often their homes with those they support. In 2010, England’s care inspectors, the Care Quality Commission, gave 38% of Shared Lives schemes the top rating of excellent (three star): double the percentages for other forms of regulated care.
There are now around 15,000 people supported through Shared Lives schemes, but the scope for expansion is significant. Over the last six months, with the support of the Cabinet Office, Social Finance, Shared Lives Plus and Community Catalysts have been working closely with four local authorities – Lambeth, Leeds, Manchester and Newham – to explore a model for expanding Shared Lives with social investment.
A central element of the work has been identifying which groups of people would most benefit from Shared Lives, and for whom support in Shared Lives would be more cost-effective than other forms of care. Although the primary reason for expanding Shared Lives is the social benefit, the conclusions drawn from this work also indicate that expanding Shared Lives could provide significantly greater value for money than many other forms of care.