Ram shares his story as a Shared Lives Carer.
- You should preferably have some experience of caring for others, but it’s not essential. Carers come from all walks of life and you do not need a qualification, but you do need to have a genuine interest and be committed to sharing your home with someone.
- It doesn’t matter about your age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, marital status, religious beliefs, living alone or as a family….what matters are your personal qualities, passion and values.
- You should have a willingness to offer practical guidance, emotional support, be flexible, patient, creative, understanding, have an ability to think on your feet and above all else be non-judgemental.
- You will need to have a suitable spare room for someone to stay in a clean, safe and welcoming environment. You don’t need to own your own home, but if you rent you will need to ask for permission from your landlord.
- You will need to be able to read and write so as to understand the relevant information that is shared with you such as referral and matching documentation, but also to support the person who comes to stay with their own correspondence.
- You will need to be good at communicating as you will be working in partnership alongside other professionals and family members.
How do you become a Shared Lives carer?
Before Covid-19, the assessment process for Shared Lives carers could take anywhere between three to six months and involved lots of face to face meetings at your home, with one of our team. In October 2020, we began a project in partnership with our national membership organisation and local Shared Lives Schemes, to pilot new ways of working in response to the pandemic. We have tailored and streamlined our existing processes to enable flexibility for some of our interactions to be completed virtually.
Would you like to learn more? Complete the "expression of interest form" and we will get in touch with you.
"We feel valued and listened to. We feel as though our concerns, if we have any, are taken seriously ..... and we feel very encouraged by the professionalism of the staff that we have met at Shared Lives. "
Ian C, Shared Lives Carer
The assessment process:
- Following your successful application to the Scheme, one of our team will contact you to talk you through the process and set up an initial meeting at your home. You will have the opportunity to meet your Assessor/Coordinator and Scheme Manager, and ask any burning questions you may have.
- Whilst the process has been streamlined, it still requires commitment and time from you to ensure we really get to know you and your family, and develop a full understanding of your values, experiences and motivation to become a Shared Lives Carer, which will help us with matching in the future.
- We will need to request personal and employer references, a declaration of your health, a letter from your mortgage provider or landlord and carry out what is called an Enhanced DBS check.
- We will provide you with ‘Pre-Approval’ training based around the Care Certificate developed by Skills For Care, and will include topics such as safeguarding, communications skills, administration of medication, support networks, equality & diversity and health & safety.
- We will then present an assessment report to an Independent Panel made up people who know and understand Shared Lives. They will have the final say on approving your application to become a Carer.
- Once you are approved, we will provide you with out-of-hours telephone support exclusive to Carers, regular face to face, virtual and telephone supervision, a carer support group, written guidance, annual membership to the national organisation Shared Lives Plus, including free public liability insurance, and ongoing training opportunities so that you can continue to provide the highest quality of support and care there is. There will also be lots of opportunity to take part in events and gatherings if you so wish.
- Sometimes you may have to wait a little while whilst we find the right match for you as we are not in the business of putting square pegs in round holes. We are certain you will appreciate the need to ensure that when we bring people together, everybody is happy, as this underpins the longevity and success of each arrangement. Remember, there are always a number of introductory visits before anyone makes any further decisions. Being a Shared Lives Carer isn’t always easy and there will definitely be a few ups and downs, but what we can guarantee is that the role will be very rewarding and it will vastly enrich your immediate and wider family networks, as well as bring about a greater sense of community and enormous wellbeing.
Our Shared Lives Carer received the first year membership to Shared Lives Plus the umbrella membership body for Shared Lives.
Shared Lives Plus membership gives you access to specialist support, legal advice, specialist insurance, and mortgage brokers if you’re buying a new house, shopping discounts – and your all-important public liability insurance.
You get access to the carer network, peer support, carer forum and many more benefits.
How much are you paid?
As a Shared Lives Carer, you are paid according to the level of support you provide, currently up to £670 per week. The amount you receive for each Arrangement is generally paid 4 weekly and is made up from care and support charge, housing benefit and a board and lodgings contribution made by the Person. You are not paid by the hour and sometimes you will do huge amounts of work when you are supporting someone from within your own home.
There is no ‘clocking on and clocking off’, but it’s a hugely rewarding role!
All Shared Lives Carers will need to be registered as self-employed by HMRC and qualify for tax relief. This is calculated at £18,140 for every household annually and then £450 per week for every person that comes to stay as an Arrangement (up to three adults). Once approved, you can receive up to £670 per week, depending on the level of support you provide to the person that is matched to come and stay with you. This may sometimes include personal care such as toileting, bathing and dressing.
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