NHS England has announced a £1.75m investment in Shared Lives to help more people to be cared for in a home, not a hospital. The Shared Lives model will support people who have needs which make it hard for them to live on their own, by carefully matching them with a carer to share their family and lives, giving care and support in the community.
People using the scheme may have learning disabilities, dementia, mental health conditions 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.
Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said, ‘Whether helping someone with a learning disability to build a full life with a network of friends and family, or enabling an older person to recover from an operation in the peace and quiet of a familiar environment – people naturally value care and support in a loving family home. That’s why Shared Lives is an example of the kind of community and people-centred approach which needs to play a much bigger part in the NHS of the future.’
Alex Fox, Chief Executive of Shared Lives Plus said, ‘We already see staggering health outcomes from people visiting or living in their chosen Shared Lives arrangement, because Shared Lives carers have the time and space to get to know people really well, understanding not only what they need but also what they are capable of doing for themselves. This partnership is a fantastic opportunity for the NHS to develop a world-leading approach to community-based support, which will help people live good lives, but will also save millions from under-pressure NHS budgets.’
Some NHS commissioners and providers already commission Shared Lives, but NHS England has now invested £1.75m in start-up and development funding, which will enable 6 to 10 areas to develop new NHS services on a match-funded basis. Two regions where there is most interest in the model will receive extra support as ‘accelerator regions’.