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Shared Lives

Shared Lives Carers FAQs

Frequently asked questions about what a shared lives carer does, the training and support you will receive and how the application process works.

More information about the role of a shared lives carer and our application process is detailed below. Alternatively, if you have a specific question or would like to speak to a member of our team, please contact us and we will get in touch.

Who can be a shared lives carer?

We’d like to hear from you if you have a willingness to share your life with someone who needs support, and you have a spare room and live in or near the following areas;

  • Richmond
  • Wandsworth
  • Hounslow
  • Lambeth

You will need to share our values and demonstrate you have the skills and characteristics to commit to supporting people to live a full life within your home and your local community. Training and support is provided.

What does a shared Lives carer do?

Shared lives carers support somebody who wants to live an independent life in their community. The person may have a learning disability, be autistic, or have a mental health condition or dementia. Most importantly they want the support to live the life they want – to follow their passions and interests.

You’re matched together based on your shared experiences and interests and will live alongside them in your home. They become part of your family life, much like fostering.

Some of the things you might support them with include:

  • keeping healthy and active
  • meeting friends, developing their relationships and taking part in community life
  • taking part in everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and gardening
  • learning new skills by working or studying
  • developing existing or new hobbies and interests

How do I start the application process?

If you meet the criteria described above and you’re interested in applying to be a shared Lives carer we can start the application process. We want you to have a good understanding of what the process entails before committing yourself as it is quite lengthy.

This will include;

  • Step 1. An initial form to register your interest
  • Step 2. An initial home visit from a shared lives coordinator
    This will be to check the suitability of your home and to discuss the next steps before starting the assessment.
  • Step 3. Checks and references
    We will need to complete a few checks including a DBS, personal, professional and medical references. We also need to do property checks which, dependent on your living situation, could include a reference from your landlord, housing association or your bank to ensure you are not in arrears and we have received the necessary approval.
  • Step 4. Assessment
    This includes questions that focus on who you are as an individual, your family life, what you will be able to offer and your understanding around other important topics such as;
    • Safeguarding
    • Legislations
    • Privacy and confidentiality
    • Communication
    • Choice
    • Capacity
    • Promoting independence and risk taking
    • How you would support a person with their personal relationships, managing their finances and accessing health services.
  • Step 5. Panel review

Once all the checks and steps have been completed, your assessment will be presented to panel where it will be discussed with panel members who will feedback their recommendations.

How long does the process take?

This typically takes between 3-6 months - but it can be longer depending on availability and completion of compliance as well as when the next panel is held.

Will I have to do training?

All shared lives carers undertake mandatory training which includes:

  • Health and Safety
  • Manual Handling
  • First aid
  • Safeguarding
  • Person centred thinking
  • Data Protection
  • Equality and diversity
  • Fire safety
  • Mental capacity act
  • Infection prevention and control
  • Food safety
  • Medication
  • Learning disability and autism awareness
  • Reducing restrictive practice
  • Oliver McGowan
  • Cyber security

We also offer many additional courses. All of our training and development is delivered in an accessible way.

What support will I get once I become a Shared Lives carer?

We understand that as a Shared Lives carer you will be working on your own and at times this can feel quite isolating. To support this, all Shared Lives carers are allocated a Shared Lives coordinator who are there to offer you support and guidance on the support you provide.

We are a team of 6 staff members, which includes one registered manager, one administrator and five coordinators. If your allocated coordinator is off sick or on holiday, rest assured there will be someone else in the team who can support you.

Your Shared Lives coordinator will complete quarterly visits, which can be increased if needed.

We also offer quarterly carer meetings, coffee mornings and a few activities and outings throughout the year which give our shared lives carers the chance to meet each other.

As an approved shared lives carer, we will also pay for a Shared Lives Plus membership where support, advice and additional information can be offered.

How many people can I support once I’m approved?

This will depend on different factors which include your type of property and the number of bedrooms you have as well as your approval status.

For instance, the panel may recommend that you are approved at the start for only one person which is to be reviewed after a year if all is going well.

Once approved, as a carer you may still have to wait for the right person who needs your support to be matched to you. This is because it depends on who is referred by your local authority and their specific requirements, interests and if you are considered a good match.

Can I rent a property out for people to live in?

Unfortunately, this would not be classified as Shared Lives nor is it something we offer. As a Shared Lives carer, you will be sharing your life with the person you support. You will welcome them in your own home and provide support. This does not mean that if you do rent that you cannot still be a Shared Lives carer but the requirement is that you would live in the same property as the person you support.

Can I be a Shared Lives carer and still work full-time?

It is possible to be a Shared Lives carer and work elsewhere, however most of the people we support require support at all times and often cannot be left alone for long periods due to their support needs. It would be worth considering different factors and how you would be able to manage both roles in order to ensure you are still providing good quality care.

What types of support can be offered?

Shared Lives offers three different types of support which are

  • a full-time placement where a person would be supported in your home full time.
  • respite, where a person can be supported once a month or for a short period.
  • daytime support where a person is supported for a few hours to access the community.

How much would I get paid as a Shared Lives carer?

Shared Lives carers are self employed. This means that instead of a salary you would receive a payment as and when you provide support. Payments depend on

  • the type of shared lives support you provide whether this is a full time placement, respite or daytime support.
  • the borough the person supported is funded by as rates are different.
  • the level of support and the person’s needs as there is a banding system in place.

Full time payments can be between £380/week to £569/week. Respite can also be between £70.70/night up to £208/night. For more information around payment, please speak to a member of our team.

As a Shared Lives carer, will I ever get time to myself?

Yes, if you support someone on a full-time basis, we request the local authority look at providing opportunities and provisions for day activities. This is to ensure the person is supported to socialise and interact with people outside of the house but also to give the shared lives carer some time to themselves.

We want to ensure that neither you or the person you support are put under too much strain. So if you support a person on a full-time basis, they will receive an allocation of respite and be supported by another Shared Lives carer to give you both a break.