Shared Lives again shown to be the best form of care

Shared Lives is once again England’s best-rated form of care, support and accommodation for older and disabled people, according to the annual report of The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the government’s social care inspectors for England. This report also shows that nearly half a million older and disabled people receive support in care homes in England alone. Whereas only around 20,000 are supported through Shared Lives.

Here are the stats for 2010. For the top “3 Star” ratings: 38% Shared Lives; 19% Care homes for older people; 23% care homes for younger people; 21% home care; 19% nursing agencies. So nearly twice as many Shared Lives schemes received top marks as other forms of support.

83% of all forms of support were rated good or excellent, whereas 95% of Shared Lives schemes were good (two star) or excellent (three star). No Shared Lives scheme has been rated as “poor” for the last two years, whereas all other forms of care have a small percentage of poor services. Only 3% of Shared Lives schemes were rated as merely “adequate” (one star); with other forms of care having 8-13% rated as adequate.

Why does Shared Lives do better in inspections than any other form of care? Previous years’ reports have tended to say that it is because Shared Lives takes place on a smaller scale than other forms of care. This is nonsense: you can be small-scale and poor quality. This year’s report does more to highlight the fact that Shared Lives is a better fit with most people’s hopes and wishes for their care and the care of their relatives. Whilst the CQC report shows the continuing trend for more people to be accommodated in fewer, larger care homes, Shared Lives helps people to live as part of an ordinary household in the heart of their community.

The great ratings surely have something to do with the incredible dedication and flexibility of Shared Lives carers, who can help people which other services label as ‘challenging’. See previous posts in this blog for examples of what I mean.

Shared Lives is now available in nearly every area of the UK, so isn’t it time that more people to access the best and cheapest forms of support?

Market capacity, quality and commissioning of adult social care, published by CQC, available at www.cqc.org.uk , published 9th November 2010.

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