All our Shared Lives Hosts will be properly recruited, assessed, and trained by us before they are able to start working with the person or anybody else who requires support. During this time, we build up our knowledge of them and their families and of the skills and experience the Hosts have to enable them to support someone.
Once we receive a referral for the person who will be using or living in a Shared Lives arrangement, we start to build up our knowledge of the person and their needs, wishes and aspirations.
These are the sorts of things we consider when working out which of our Shared Lives Hosts might be suitable for the person:
- the person’s assessed needs and wishes
- any identified risks/ risk management
- the skills, knowledge, and experience of the Shared Lives Host(s)
- the personal interests that the person and the Shared Lives Host(s) have
- the location of the Shared Lives Host(s) home
- the facilities and accommodation the Shared Lives Host(s) can offer the person
- the cultures and/or faiths that are important to the person and the Shared Lives Host(s)
If we find any Shared Lives Hosts whose skills can be matched with the person’s needs, we will give the person and/or the person’s representative information about all of them. The information will be in a format that the person can understand easily. We will also give information about the person to those Shared Lives Hosts that we think will make a good match with the person.
If the person and/or the persons representative would then like to meet up with one or all of the Shared Lives Hosts we will make arrangements for this. This enables the person and the Shared Lives Host(s) to find out more about each other and to see for themselves whether the person has things in common after all. This kind of visit is called an introduction and is part of the matching process. An introduction can include an overnight stay if the person is thinking about having short breaks with the Shared Lives Host(s) or of living with them for a while.
We will make sure that the person and/or the person’s representative understands the matching process and that all our Shared Lives Hosts understand it too. As it is so important that the person and the Shared Lives Host(s) get on well together, they both have a say in whether the arrangement could be a suitable one. It will not cause a problem if either the person or the Shared Lives Host(s) does not wish to go ahead with more introductory visits or with making a longer-term arrangement.
The decision about whether a Shared Lives arrangement is right for the person is a very important one. We understand that it takes time and proper information to make this sort of decision and that the opportunity for the person and the person’s family or representative to visit and ‘test drive’ an arrangement will be a helpful part of that process.