A choice for all

For Shared Lives week, Lesley Dixon, CEO of Person Shaped Support (PSS), which provides Shared Lives in a number of areas of the UK, writes:

PSS is a business with a heart that helps people change their lives for the better. We provide a range of health and social care services that help people from all different backgrounds get the most from their lives, and since we were founded in 1919, we’ve never stood still. We’re always looking for new ways to help – which, in 1978, led us to set up the UK’s first Shared Lives scheme.

As you may or may not know Shared Lives is a form of support where vulnerable adults and young people over 16 live at home with a specially recruited and trained carer and their family.

At the moment, 362 people  use our Shared Lives scheme across our long-term, short breaks and day support schemes, and we currently have over 400 carers.

Shared Lives is a great option for everyone in need of some day-to-day support – whatever their needs may be.  With over 400 carers, we can match people’s needs to the Shared Lives carers that can best support them, giving our service-users as much choice as possible.

  • At the moment, 60% of the people who use our Shared Lives scheme have some form of learning disability.
  • 7% of people using the scheme have mental health challenges.
  • 10% are older people, who may be frail or need some extra day-to-day
  • 8% suffer from dementia
  • 5% have complex and risky behaviours.

When we met Josh, he had been using drugs and alcohol as a way of bonding with his dad, who also had a drug and alcohol addiction. Josh was recovering from a mental health breakdown, which resulted in him being sectioned. He came to live with one of our Shared Lives carers in Liverpool to help him recover from everything he’d been through. After about a year, Josh was feeling well enough to return home – and is now living with his mum. Last we heard, he had started attending college, which is great news and shows the powerful impact a Shared Lives placement can have on someone like Josh.

We’re also seeing more and more care-leavers and vulnerable young people using the scheme.

In terms of referrals into the service from social workers, GPs, etc  – we’ve had quite a mixed experience. Some really see the potential benefits Shared Lives could have – others know less about it. As a result, we often have Shared Lives carers with vacancies just waiting to be filled – and that’s a real shame.

To fix this problem, Continue reading

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Person Shaped Support

 

Lesley Dixon is Chief Executive of PSS (Person Shaped Support) which has a long history of social care innovation and is one of the leading independent providers of Shared Lives services. PSS has just published a report on the outcomes and costs of its Shared Lives support, which includes powerful personal stories alongside data which should interest many people working in the sector. Lesley writes:

Social Impact Reporting is a big priority for us. At the end of each year, we make it our business to take a detailed look at what works, what difference our services make, what is cost-effective and ultimately whether we are doing any good for the people we work with.

We recently published our first Social Impact Report for Shared Lives and TRIO,  which looks at the fantastic achievements made by our Shared Lives schemes across the UK; in Merseyside, Wirral, Manchester, Wales and the Midlands. The report includes information on the people we work with, the pathway they follow when they come to the service,  the outcomes we support people to achieve (including case studies) and what our service-users think about the service. It outlines some cost-benefit analysis information, looking at the value of our Shared Lives projects when compared with other, costlier forms of care in the areas we work in, and also looks at some of the innovative work being done with our TRIO project in Wales, the hospital-to-home work we are trialling in some of the schemes, and our work with Shared Lives Plus on the My Shared Life tool.

Perhaps our biggest finding from this report is around the savings our scheme can make to the public sector. We found that Shared Lives is 51% cheaper than residential care and 35% cheaper than supported living. This means that on average, a Shared Lives Placement at PSS would represent an annual saving of £23,491 per person, compared to if they were to be placed in residential care, or an annual saving of £11,922 if they were placed in Supported Living.

Whilst there are some really good findings and inspiring case studies in the report, we know there is more we can do to keep getting better.  We plan to use the My Shared Life tool from Shared Lives Plus to help us manage impact on an ongoing basis, as opposed to a reflective report at the end of each year.  This will help us ‘course correct’ where we know that some of the things we are doing could be more effective or where they aren’t working.  We also really want to embed some measures which can help us demonstrate that what we are doing is high quality (such as some of the NICE Quality Standard measures), as well as some other tools which can help us establish baselines and demonstrate an emotional impact – such as people no longer feeling socially isolated or lonely.

 

From the police force to Shared Lives

I’m very grateful to Allan who is a Shared Lives carer with PSS Scotland for very kindly writing about his journey into Shared Lives, providing daytime support to local people:

My name is Allan and I retired as a police officer about four years ago. My hobbies include amateur football refereeing and fair weather motor biking. When I retired from the police I decided to take some time out to do some projects around the house. After about a year and a half all the jobs were done and I decided that it was now time to have a think about what to do with some of my time in the future.

My wife Moira was a little surprised that I was interested in working in social care, but as always she was very supportive and I found out about Shared Lives. Meeting PSS Scotland was the start of an adventure and ongoing learning process for me, which opened my eyes to a lot. A couple of weeks after being approved as an ‘Adult Placement Carer’ I was introduced to ‘Sally’ (all names changed) a very pleasant young lady who was looking for day support several days a week. After being thoroughly briefed and advised we ventured out together. In next to no time we both seemed to click. I gained a lot of good experience very quickly and was glad of the sound advice provided by those more experienced than I. Within a short time of meeting Moira, she and Sally were engrossed in craft making and I was really pleased and relieved that Sally had taken to us all so quickly. Although I no longer support Sally regularly, I am sometimes called upon to help out now and again, which I look forward to immensely.

Peter, who I’ve supported now for the best part of two years several days a week, is a similar age to me and he has learning, physical and communication difficulties. I really enjoy being in his company and I think he feels the same. I encourage Peter to decide what he wants to do at any time I am supporting him and I get great satisfaction when I see him thinking for himself and making good sound decisions about many things. Peter occasionally visits my home and has got to know Moira, my boys and my sister and Mum pretty well. I was impressed at how Peter engaged my youngest son Aaron, bringing Aaron out of his shell and improving his confidence and ability to interact with him. Peter is particularly interested in music, so we’ve been to one or two events hearing live amateur musicians which we really enjoy – despite our difference in musical tastes!

I support Richard, who is now 91 years young, one morning a week. Richard has some mobility issues and is partially sighted. I really look forward to meeting up with him help him to do some shopping. Richard is as ‘sharp as a tack’ and is such a fun loving individual with a sharp and witty sense of humour who seems to really enjoy life. He is quite simply a joy to be with and spending time with him is one of the highlights of my week – we really have a good fun when together.

Finally, I support Simon one afternoon a week. Simon, Continue reading