Shared Lives is a scheme which links people who need help and support to live in the community with people who can provide that help and support in their own home. People who use the service may have a learning disability, a physical disability, a mental health problem, or be unable to live independently because of their age.
What a Shared Lives carer does
The scheme is looking for carers who can provide a wide range of care, as the people we help and support have many different needs. Carers can work flexibly around their commitments and can provide:
- help and support for a few hours a week during the day, perhaps teaching someone how to cook or play a sport
- help and support for a short time, such as a weekend, perhaps while a family carer has a break
- care and support full time, having someone living with them either for a short or long period
Who can be a carer
- couples or singles
- with or without children
- young or not-so-young
Every Shared Lives carer brings their own unique skills and experience to the job. But what all carers share in common is a desire to help people – and room at home to do it.
Help provided for carers
- Induction and training that will give you a recognised qualification in caring
- Day to day support from your local Shared Lives staff
- Contact with other Shared Lives carers
- We will offer placements that suit your requirements
Reward and payment
- Carers are paid a rate per person for help and support during the day
- Carers are paid an hourly rate if someone is living with the carer (the rates vary depending on the needs of the person)
- Job satisfaction
Are carers employed by Adult Services?
No – all carers on the service are self-employed, which means that they pay their own taxes and National Insurance contributions
Being assessed to be a carer
If you decide that you want to become a Shared Lives carer then you will go through an assessment process, with the support of Shared Lives staff. This process will also include taking up references for all members of your household. You will understand that we have to be absolutely sure that people using the service are safe, so we also arrange for DBS checks (previously CRB checks) to be carried out. We also want to make sure that you have enough space to look after someone extra and that your house is safe.
When the assessment is complete you will go with a member of the Shared Lives staff team to a small panel of people who will make the final decision as to your approval as a Shared Lives carer.
Checks on the users
Checks are carried out on the users of the service and we give you all the relevant background information about the people you take into your home.
If I have someone living with me how can I take a holiday?
We arrange for the person living with you to go either to another carer or to one of our residential homes so that you can take a break of up to three weeks a year. During this time you will be paid a retainer.
Changing your mind about the care you offer
You can change your mind at any time about the care you offer. You can decide to offer more, or less. If you want to do this you should talk to the Shared Lives staff team.
What happens if I don’t get on with the person I’m helping – or they don’t like me?
We try to make sure that people get on well before we set up a placement – you should meet the person beforehand to give you both a chance to get to know each other, and the first four weeks of the placement are always a trial period, so that either party can decide to change their mind.
If something goes wrong
The Shared Lives staff team is at hand, but if an emergency happens out of office hours there is an Adult Services emergency number you can call, as well as the local police or health services.
Stopping being a carer
If your circumstances change or you decide that being a Shared Lives carer is not for you after all, you can decide to leave the Scheme. The Shared Lives staff team will help and advise you.