Alternative accommodation-based care - Shared Lives

Promising models of care – case studies

Shared Lives is a service that provides family-based support for older people and people with disabilities. It enables people to experience ordinary family and community life and receive personal care outside more traditional care settings. The people receiving the service are matched with a compatible carer who will use their own home to provide that person with longer-term support or a short-term break. The Care Quality Commission regulates local Shared Lives schemes. The schemes are responsible for recruiting and training carers, matching the needs of service users to carers and monitoring the success of each arrangement.

The service aims to provide a clear alternative to traditional forms of accommodation-based care for vulnerable adults. Expected benefits include an increase in the quality of available accommodation-based care, and a reduction in local authority spending on the provision of both long-term and short-term care placements.

Current use

173 people use Shared Lives in Birmingham:

Who used Shared Lives:

Estimated current financial benefits

Estimated benefits per annum based on current provision of Shared Lives in Birmingham indicate:

Shared Lives is estimated to be saving £2m per year for Birmingham City Council.

Potential benefits for Birmingham

Based on 2015/16 data

Shared Lives could save an additional £1.3m per year for Birmingham City Council.

Potential benefits elsewhere

If the Shared Lives scheme was rolled out in another city which does not currently offer a Shared Lives type intervention:

Shared Lives could save one to two per cent of the adult social care budget.

Implementation issues

An investment of around £250,000 is required to set up 75 new Shared Lives arrangements (based on 50 for people with learning disabilities and 25 for people with mental health needs). One coordinator is needed for every 25 carers.

Once the coordinator has been recruited, it could be six to seven months before the first carer is matched to someone and up to two years until the break-even point for the scheme is reached.

The main limiting factor for large-scale, rapid expansion is likely to be the lack of potential carers available for live-in arrangements.