Shared Lives (Adult Placement) - Models of care and support

Shared Lives Plus is the UK charity that promotes and develops both the Shared Lives and Homeshare models and provides support to member schemes and carers. Shared Lives is better known as adult placement in Northern Ireland and is a unique type of social care regulated by RQIA. Four adult placement schemes were established by a number of legacy health and social care trusts in the 1990s. They have focused exclusively since then on supporting adults with a learning disability. They offer day support, short breaks or longer-term care arrangements in the homes of approved carers in the community. Local schemes have a successful track record in building their services over many years pioneering the drive for more person-centred and community-based care models. Schemes offer people the chance to stay in the community being looked after in a more normal environment and as an alternative to institutions and day centres. With support from the Big Lottery, Shared Lives Plus has been working with key stakeholders in Northern Ireland to expand the adult placement model to support other groups and in particular older people. This work reflects how the model has expanded in the rest of the UK to support a broader range of vulnerable adults. This expansion project is being supported with Department of Health transformation funding and is being led by the Health & Social Care Board in conjunction with the five health and social care trusts.

Current users and outcomes (Northern Ireland)

Estimated current financial benefits per year

Potential benefits

Implementation issues

Case study: Older persons (Scotland)


Ian was diagnosed with dementia several years ago with symptoms including macular degeneration and subsequent gradual loss of sight and short-term memory loss. His independence was reduced, and his wife struggled to care for him without a break.

Support provided

Ian was referred to his local Shared Lives scheme in Moray, Scotland. He was matched with a local Shared Lives carer taking into account his needs and preferences. Care and support have grown steadily in line with his needs from two hours weekly with the Shared Lives carer to overnight respite in the Shared Lives carer home.


Shared Lives carer support has enabled Ian to remain living at home and in the community. His wife can now access regular respite that enables her to continue caring for Ian.

Community-based models (SCIE Highlights No 6)
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