A service which enables adults with disabilities to live with a carer as part of a family environment has passed a Government inspection with flying colours.
The Shared Lives service has received a ‘Good’ rating overall from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and was found to be ‘Good’ in all five categories: safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.
Shared Lives is run by local authority trading company, Bolton Cares, and this is the first inspection for the service since it transferred from the council in July 2016.
Bolton Shared Lives is a placement scheme for adults with learning disabilities, mental health issues or physical disabilities.
People can benefit from short or long term placements within a family environment as an alternative to a residential home or living alone.
CQC inspectors found the service was safe, and ‘offered imaginative and innovative ways to proactively manage risk and keep people safe whilst making sure they had a full and meaningful life’.
Staff endeavoured to match people’s needs with carers when it came to recruitment and extra checks were made with family members or anyone else who would be living with the potential carer to ensure service users were safe.
Whilst looking at whether the service was effective, one Shared Lives carer was being observed by an expert in the field of Autism, who found the support they offered to someone with complex autism to be ‘extraordinary’ and ‘exceptional’ practice.
As part of the inspection, CQC visited two people’s homes and noted that the service was caring. Carers ‘demonstrated a high level of empathy and compassion towards the people they cared for’. The people they supported had become part of the family and were relaxed and comfortable.
The service was also responsive and took into account the needs of both the carers and the people they supported. When one service user became too unwell for the carer to manage, a Shared Lives worker responded to the issue by enabling them to apply for a disabled facilities grant which ensured they could remain at home with improved facilities.
The inspector spoke to several professionals who’d all had positive experiences with the Shared Lives service and found it to be well-led.
Staff were supported with regular supervision sessions and the registered manager was proactive in recruiting new carers and promoting the service wider.
Susan Purtill (left) enjoying family life with her Shared Lives carer Do Single
Leader of Bolton Council, and chairman of the Bolton Cares steering committee, Cllr Cliff Morris, said: “The Shared Lives service is one of those services that is vitally important and worthwhile, yet it doesn’t have a high profile. So it is great that it has a received a ‘good’ rating in its first inspection.
“Everyone involved in the service, from staff to carers and service users, deserves every credit. Well done to them all.”
Chief Executive of Bolton Cares, John Livesey, said: “I’m very proud of the Shared Lives service and I’m delighted that it has received such a positive rating from CQC. It’s such a rewarding environment to work in. We are always looking for new carers and I would recommend anyone who has room in their heart and their home to consider it.”