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Improving referrals to Shared Lives – new training directory for social workers

19 April 2023
By Ewan King, CEO, Shared Lives Plus

Shared Lives care creates the best outcomes for people who need support and allows them to live the life they choose. At Shared Lives Plus we are committed to growing Shared Lives and transforming the adult social care landscape, allowing more people to access better-quality, person-centred care.

Megan Lewis, who was in hospital for four years with mental ill-health has described the impact of Shared Lives on her life:

Ewan King, CEO, Shared Lives Plus

Being kept there [in hospital] when I was ready to move on became a hindrance. This pattern stopped when I found out about Shared Lives. I took the information to my consultant, used my voice, and told her: ‘This is what I want’. And that is what I got: an amazing Shared Lives home with a brilliant carer, Hayley, who encouraged me to speak up, express myself and stand up for what I believe in. My confidence increased massively. I’m pretty sure that without Shared Lives I’d have given up, and probably wouldn’t be here at all. Shared Lives really has saved my life.

Late last year, Shared Lives Plus published a guide to growing Shared Lives for local authorities. In it, we discussed two big barriers to growth – the lack of awareness and knowledge amongst social workers in Shared Lives, and the challenge of recruiting Shared Lives Carers.

Funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) – and in partnership with the Social Care Institute for Excellence – we have developed two online resources libraries to help local authorities tackle these two challenges.

To attract a high calibre of Shared Lives carers we’ve created a directory to support Shared Lives schemes with carer recruitment, this includes animations/videos, social media graphics and printed collateral. As well as this we’ve developed free training courses for social workers to better inform them about Shared Lives care and assist them to make good referrals to Shared Lives.

These two new directories are a huge step forward in relation to growing Shared Lives and we are now calling on leaders across adult social care to join us in developing a positive vision for the future and to commit to growing Shared Lives.

When talking with Lyn Romeo Chief Social Worker for Adults at the Department for Health and Social Care about the new resources for social workers, she said:

I am really pleased that Department of Health and Social care was able to support Shared Lives Plus – the national charity which supports Shared Lives – and the Social Care Institute for Excellence to develop these new Shared Lives resources for social workers. I am a huge supporter of Shared Lives – it delivers excellent support to people and enables people to live good lives in a loving family home. As a social worker, I know however, that we have a huge role to play in supporting Shared Lives to flourish, and that we need to encourage more referrals into Shared Lives. These new resources were designed to raise the awareness, knowledge, and skills of social workers of Shared Lives and support social care professionals to make good referrals and provide ongoing support.

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