Inspectors praise ‘outstanding’ home care service provided by Northamptonshire County Council

The county council's 'shared lives' scheme was praised by CQC inspectors
The county council's 'shared lives' scheme was praised by CQC inspectors

Inspectors have praised an ‘outstanding’ county council support service that sees carers look after vulnerable adults in their own homes.

The Shared Lives scheme sees carers recruited, trained and supported to offer accommodation and support arrangements for vulnerable adults within their own family homes. It has also been dubbed ‘adult fostering’.

And the service has been rated as ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in its latest report published on August 24. It is the third time the scheme, which was previously delivered by Olympus Care but is now ran through Northamptonshire County Council, has been given the top grade.

Councillor Ian Morris, the county council’s cabinet member for adult social care, said: “The Shared Lives scheme makes a real difference to the lives of the people it works with, supporting them to live more independently in real family homes. We are particularly pleased that inspectors have rated the service as outstanding in three key areas – being safe, effective and caring – as this is something we constantly strive to achieve.

“It’s great to see that the hard work of the Shared Lives team has been recognised in this report too, with inspectors noting that they are often ‘going above and beyond what is expected of them’. It’s also a credit to our Shared Lives carers, who inspectors said showed compassion, kindness and great humanity in supporting people to develop their lives.”

CQC inspectors judged the service in June, and met with six people who used the service and 10 shared lives carers. It also spoke with 13 shared lives carers on the telephone about their experience providing care. They met again with carers and people who use the service later that month at a social function.

At the time of the inspection, a total of 56 shared lives carers had been appointed and some carers had been approved to care for more than one person. A total of 59 people were living in long-term shared lives arrangements and 35 people accessed shared lives for respite only.

In their report, inspectors found: “People had become part of the carers’ lives and community, leading to additional positive relationships and well-being. People consistently receive safe care from staff that understood their responsibilities and were supported to take positive risks and take responsibilities whilst assessing their risks. This had enabled people to become more independent and confident.”