Adults Supporting Adults (ASA), an organisation based in Lincolnshire, has been awarded a 12-month grant by the government.
The intention is for ASA to record the impact of their Shared Lives services on people with mental ill health who live in the region where the organisation is based.
Shared Lives promises to deliver a unique form of care, whereby a person who needs support is carefully matched to live within a safe and secure family setting.
The ultimately aim of the programme is to develop skills and build the independence of those involved, while also reducing social isolation.
The findings from the programme will help inform the NHS’s Five Year Forward View on Mental Health.
Treating and maintaining people at home and in their own neighbourhoods, rather than being admitted to hospital care in the first place, is a central focus of the campaign, and one expected to bring financial benefits to the NHS.
Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, commented on Shared Lives, suggesting that the initiative was an important and valuable one.
“Whether helping someone with a learning disability to build a full life with a network of friends and family, or enabling an older person to recover from an operation in the peace and quiet of a familiar environment – people naturally value care and support in a loving family home. That’s why Shared Lives is an example of the kind of community and people-centred approach which needs to play a much bigger part in the NHS of the future.”
Trixie Bennett, chief executive of ASA, outlined the history of the scheme, with ASA having been running for far longer than many people perhaps realise.
“We have been providing Shared Lives across the county for over 25 years now, and through all of our services we support some 300-plus clients, a large number of which have been diagnosed with mental ill health. Working alongside the Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust and service-user led organisations such as SHINE, we have known for a long time that the services ASA deliver provide better outcomes for people when living in the community.”
Bennett also detailed the official approval that the scheme has already accumulated.
“This is also consistently recognised by the regulatory body, the Care Quality Commission, who monitor the standards within all of social care. Whereas the service is growing significantly across the country, unfortunately, Shared Lives is much under-utilised within Lincolnshire. In this time of significant cuts to adult social care budgets and NHS funding, viable alternatives must be found to support the most vulnerable in our society, of which Shared Lives should be considered more frequently.”
Shared Lives largely works in locations in south Lincolnshire, such as Sleaford, Grantham and Boston.