What is shared lives?
Shared lives is a scheme run by Southampton City Council. Individuals and families provide care in their home for up to three people with disabilities, aged over 18. Care is offered to individuals who will benefit from living in the community or in a family home.
Who can be a shared lives carer?
Anyone aged over 18 who has the time and space in their home to offer care to a person who needs it can be a carer. This often suits people who have previously worked in care posts who now spend more time at home.
What should I know about shared lives?
If you choose to become a shared lives carer, you will be self-employed. A contract will be formed between you and us. We employ a shared lives officer to support, inspect and supervise all our carers. Most placements are long term.
We also make placements for a set length of time, for example before a person moves on to independent accommodation.
Who might live in the shared lives scheme?
Shared lives carers support people with learning disabilities, mental health needs, physical disabilities and older people.
Is my home suitable?
To be able to place someone in your home you need to be able to provide:
- a separate bedroom for each person. This must be of sufficient size to allow the person to have reasonable furnishings and somewhere to sit and watch television or listen to music
- furnished rooms (although some people do have their own furniture) which are in good decorative order
- reasonable access to a bathroom
- the house should be safe and in good order and available for the person to use as they wish. It is permissible to impose privacy conditions on other people’s bedrooms
- gas and electricity must be maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced once a year
- medicines and any other hazardous substances such as cleaning materials should be kept in some form of locked storage
- some special insurance premiums need to be maintained
What does being a shared lives carer involve?
Being a shared lives carer is a 24-hour job, in the same way as caring for a member of your family might be.
It could sometimes involve assisting a person during the night or being there in the day if they are ill, but the majority of the time they will be as any other member of your family.
Individuals placed with you live as members of your family and should be treated as you would wish another member of your family to be. Care should be offered according to the person’s need. This could involve a range of tasks, for example:
- helping to manage their money and their benefits
- helping them to take their medicine
- offering personal care such as washing hair or bathing
- doing their laundry
- accompanying them when they are out
- teaching domestic tasks
- helping to improve their social skills
- taking them on holiday
- accompanying them to appointments
- ensuring they can see their own family
- helping them get to work or college
- protecting them from abuse and discrimination
Can I choose who I care for?
You will have a choice in who is placed with you. You will be registered to offer care for one care group and the placements are made to suit you and the individual.
How much will I be paid?
This is assessed according to the needs of the individual placed. It is usually paid as a combination of a contribution from the individual’s benefits and a top up from Health and Adult Social Care.
For current rates contact the shared lives officer. We ask you to invoice us and payment is made once a month.
If the placement is long term we also pay for the person to go on holiday or into respite care for up to 21 days per year. This allows you to have a break. During this time you will be paid 50 per cent of your normal rate.
What happens next?
Once you have expressed an interest, we will arrange a suitable time for a member of our team to visit you in your home.
During this meeting, we will explain the types of shared lives placements available, discuss our assessment procedure and answer any questions you have.
If you decide that you would like to become an a shared lives carer, we will start our assessment and training process.
Our assessment procedure normally takes between three to four months. This includes several visits to your home to meet all family members. You will be trained and prepared for the task ahead.
Police checks, personal references and medical history checks are undertaken prior to a full assessment. A criminal record will not necessarily disqualify you as a carer. All records are taken into consideration as part of the assessment.
For further help and advice please contact the Adult contact team on 023 8083 3003, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Enquiry form – You can alternatively use the Enquiry form to arrange a call back from the team.
Application form - You can also take the first step of your application to become a carer by using the Application form.
Please email your completed form to: Shared.Lives@southampton.gov.uk or post to:
32 Kentish Road,
You can also contact them by telephone on 023 8091 7616.