Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is Shared Lives?

Shared Lives offers support to adults with a wide range of support needs including, Learning Disabilities, Physical Disabilities, Mental Health, Dementia and End of Life. Support is offered by the carer either on a permanent basis or a few days or hours a week. This can be in the form of outreach support or short break care which enables the individual’s unpaid main carer to have a break. Support is offered in the carer’s home as well as in the community. It is an alternative to residential care offering person centred support in a family based environment, accessing leisure activities, trips out or employment/voluntary opportunities.

Do I need to have any qualifications?

Previous experience and knowledge in Health and Social Care is desirable but not essential. Prospective Carers undergo a robust screening and assessment process before they and their property are approved for a Shared Lives placement.

Will I need to do any training?

All Carers undergo mandatory training; First Aid, Medication Awareness, Food Safety, Hydration, Nutrition and Infection Control, COSHH, Mental Capacity, Moving and Assisting and Safeguarding Adults. Other training is available depending on knowledge and skills and the needs of the people being supported. Training is either classroom based or online through E-Learning. Carer Awareness days and support groups will also be offered and there will be an expectation to attend these.
During the approval process an application form as well as a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) application form will need to be completed. References will be sought. Placements are also subject to a Health and Safety Check of the property. The assessment will be based on 15 Care Standards that all Health and Social Care staff must be competent to do when providing care and support. The assessment process will include 1:1 meetings, observations, role play/simulation and the completion of work books. Once the process has been completed the prospective Carer will be invited to attend an independent panel who consider the application for approval.

Will I have to provide personal care to the person I will be supporting?

During the approval process we will discuss with you the level of support you wish to offer. However, you may be required to carry out personal care that involves washing, dressing and dealing with incontinence depending on the needs of the individual. Details of the person you are to support will be provided before the placement is made.

Will my home be suitable?

During the assessment process we will visit your home to assess the suitability and safety of your home for the category of person you wish to support. A Health & Safety checklist is completed and a free Fire Safety inspection can also be arranged for you.

I am unable to offer support on a regular basis, does this matter?

The Shared Lives service is very flexible. Support can be offered for a few hours a week or as a day service or overnight. Shared Lives carers offer variable amounts of support from one to two nights per month, a few days respite or permanent care and support.

How much do I get paid?

Currently the rates are set by the Shared Lives pricing tool which is divided into four bandings of low, medium, high and complex depending on the individuals needs. The rate is agreed between Shared Lives and the Commissioning team for each placement and will range from £300 to £600 per week. There is a 24 hourly rate for short break (respite) carers ranging from £51.81 to £88.81 and there is also an hourly rate of £11.71 for carers who provide day support.

How do I get a placement?

Enquiries and referrals come to Shared Lives from across Gloucestershire. You will receive information on an individual where you will be asked to make a decision whether you feel you can offer support, a match meeting is then arranged where you will meet the individual, their Social Care Assessor and possibly their family.

The matching meeting is an important part of the process and after the initial visit a number of trial visits can be arranged at your home, for example to involve staying for tea or an overnight stay before all parties are confident to go ahead. The final decision will be yours as the Carer to go ahead and take the placement or not. Once an individual has been placed with a Shared Lives Carer, the quality of care is monitored and reviewed regularly in conjunction with the relevant care legislation and standards as defined by the Care Quality Commission.

Will I be employed by Gloucestershire County Council?

No. You will be classified as self employed and your local tax office will need to be informed of your intention to become a Shared Lives carer. You will have access to preferential tax arrangements.

Will I be covered by insurance?

Shared Lives carers offering long term, short breaks, outreach and day support are covered by Gloucestershire County Council`s public liability insurance.

Want to find out more?

Please contact the Shared Lives team and talk to one of the Shared Lives Officers.

Contact us via e-mail:
Or the main telephone number is 01452 426237.

Gloucestershire Shared Lives Scheme is registered and regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
The last inspection was in March 2019 and the overall rating was good.

What is Shared Lives?

Shared Lives is where you can go and stay for a few hours, or overnight, or for a holiday, or you can live long term with a Carer and their family in their home.

Who uses Shared Lives?

Shared Lives is used by adults aged 18 and over, and provides care and support for people with learning disabilities, young vulnerable adults, those with mental health issues, physical disabilities, older people over 65, individuals who have been discharged from hospital or have frequent admissions.

What are Shared Lives Carers Like (SL Carer)?

We have Carers of all ages. Some are single, some are married with children, some are married but have no children, some are young adults, some are grandparents, some people work and some are full time at home. All Shared Lives Carers are nice, caring people who are fully trained, experienced, approved and regulated Carers.

Can I decide where in Gloucestershire I want to stay?

Yes, you could say if you wanted to stay in the same area as your family and friends live, or in the same area as you go to college in. We would try our very best to find you a home in the area you wanted, or if we couldn’t, then we would offer you a home in the area nearest to where you wanted to stay.

Can I meet the Carer first before I decide whether I want to stay there or not?

Yes, you and your family or Care Manager would have a ‘matching meeting’ with the Carer first where you would meet them and look around their house and see what would be your bedroom. You could have a few trial stays first before you agreed to stay overnight, or to stay long term, if you wanted to.

What if I don’t want to stay in a home with children or pets?

That is fine, it is your choice. We have some Carers who don’t have any children, or their children are all grown up and no longer live at home. We also have some Carers who don’t have any pets, so you don’t have to stay with animals if you really don’t like them.

Would I get my own bedroom?

Yes, you would normally get your own bedroom to sleep in at the Shared Lives Carer’s house. If you needed a downstairs bedroom, then we would try our best to find you one. If for any reason you were expected to share a bedroom with anyone, then you would be told first, and you could say no, that you didn’t want to stay in that home.

Would my Shared Lives Carer help me with my personal care?

Yes, if you need help with washing and dressing, toileting, brushing your teeth, doing your hair, moving around, or help with taking any medicines, then your Shared Lives Carer has had training in helping you with these daily jobs, and they would be kind and sensitive in helping you with them. Or you might just need someone to remind you to do your own daily care tasks by yourself each day.

Would I be able to bring my own clothes, TV and music etc?

Yes, you can bring some of your own clothes, toiletries, possessions, TV, stereo, music and films with you to your Shared Lives Carer’s home. But if the Carer already has a TV, music and computer there, then you may be allowed to use theirs, instead of bringing your own. The Carer will provide you with a bed, furniture, curtains, bedding and towels.

Would I be able to use the telephone and internet?

You can ask the Shared Lives Carer if you could use their telephone and computer/ internet. Some Carers would let you make short local phone calls for free, but if you wanted to make long phone calls, or call long distance, then they might ask for some money towards the costs. Also if you wanted to use the internet then many Carers would let you, for short periods of time, if it was an appropriate/ safe site, but if you wanted to spend a long time on the internet then they might ask you for some money towards the costs. Any of these details would be included in the contract that you sign with the Carer.

Would I be able to eat my favourite foods?

You could tell your Carer what your favourite foods are and they could try and provide you with some of the meals that you like. But our Carers do also need to give you a healthy and balanced diet and cannot buy really expensive foods all of the time. So you can talk about any of this with your Carer, either in advance, or during your stay.

Would I be able to do the activities that I wanted to do each day?

You could tell your Carer what your favourite things to do are, and they can see if it is possible to do these things. If you wanted to go to the cinema or swimming or out for a meal etc then you would be expected to pay for your own meals and drinks and admission fees yourself, out of your own money/benefits. If you normally go to a day centre then it may not always be possible to go there whilst you are having a holiday with your Shared Lives Carer, due to the travel costs, or the distance involved.

How much money does it cost to use Shared Lives?

Normally your family, or yourself, or someone else, would contact the Adult Helpdesk on 01452 426868 and request a social care assessment for you. You would then have a meeting with a Care Manager and they would apply for the money so that Gloucestershire County Council paid for the cost of you staying with the Carer. As long as you don’t have a lot of money in savings and you meet the requirements for a funded service, then Gloucestershire County Council should pay for your care. Shared Lives has it’s own fee levels that they would share with your Care Manager. Shared Lives can also accept privately funded placements if they still qualify to receive a service.

Would I personally have to pay anything at all?

You would have a benefits assessment under Gloucestershire County Council’s benefits team (FAB Team). The benefits team would tell you in writing if you had to pay an amount towards the cost of your Shared Lives service. All adults receiving a care service are expected to contribute something if they receive enough money each week in benefits.

What if I decide that I am not happy staying with the Carer and want to leave?

You could tell your family and Care Manager and they would arrange a date with the Carer, for you to leave the Carer’s home. The notice period is talked about in the contract.


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