“Heartwarming” Shared Lives service receives glowing report from inspectors


Families across Oxfordshire who choose to share their lives and homes with adults in need of social care have been given high praise by inspectors.

The Shared Lives service in Oxfordshire has been running for more than 25 years and involves those in need of care sharing the home of Oxfordshire residents who have been trained and approved as “shared lives households”.

The Care Quality Commission inspected the service in Oxfordshire, which is managed, by the county council, in early October.

There were five key measures in the inspection judging whether the service was safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led and inspectors spoke to the county council, shared lives families/households and those receiving care . In every single category the CQC rated the Oxfordshire Shared Lives service as “good”.

“Wonderful” care

Relatives of those receiving care told inspectors that the care was “wonderful” and one staff member commented: “I love this role, no two days are the same. Seeing the difference it makes to people’s lives is brilliant, not just the service users but the shared lives carers as well.”

The service supports people across all client groups from 16 upwards and the oldest person the scheme has supported was 103.

There are usually around 120 people using the service at any one time - about 70 people live long term with Shared Lives Carers and the remainder have short breaks or a few hours support during the day.

Training and vetting is undertaken very carefully before people/families qualify to become approved in the shared lives scheme.

Heartwarming service

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “It is a delight that inspectors have drawn such positive conclusions in their report about this heart-warming service.

“When people think of social care for adults they think of care homes or carers going out to visit people in their own homes. I doubt many would think of an adult being placed in the home of a family who look after that person’s care needs even though they aren’t from their own family.

“There is a payment for people who become approved shared lives carers. However it is still a generous and selfless undertaking on the part of our people who take someone into their own households on a day to day basis. No doubt it is these very qualities that have led to the families making such a positive impression on the inspectors along with our own staff who manage the service.

“The warm words of those who receive the care speaks volumes. This story is a real success in Oxfordshire and I hope to see it go from strength to strength in building on this positive inspection report from the CQC.”

More information about this service is available at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/sharedlives

Find out more

For Shared Lives week, we highlighted some of the stories of those who have had their lives changed but the Shared Lives scheme. Read their stories here