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Inspection carried out on 15 May 2019

During a routine inspection

About the service:

Sandwell Shared Lives provides care and support to people within a family environment. Approved Shared Lives Carers support adults with a learning disability or autism. People lived with their carer on a short or long-term basis depending on their needs. There were 14 people using the service at the time of the inspection. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) only inspects the regulated activity of 'personal care' being provided to people who use the service. However, we do take account any wider social care provided.

What life is like for people using this service:

People told us they were happy living with their carer and being part of the family. People explained that they felt safe living with their carer and families and confirmed that the support they received from their carer was kind and very caring. Staff and carers knew how to recognise signs of abuse or harm and what action they needed to take to keep people safe. Effective risk assessments and management plans ensured people were supported to manage risks in their daily lives.

Prospective carers were approved by an independent panel to ensure recruitment systems were robust. There was a lengthy 'matching' process which ensured people were placed with carers that had the skills to

meet their needs. There were enough staff and carers to run the scheme.

Carers had the support they needed to care for people. They were provided with regular breaks and had ongoing and regular support from Shared Lives staff. Carers had received regular training and had the skills to support the people they cared for. They were aware of shared lives policies and care practices and their responsibilities to protect people from harm and abuse.

People's privacy, dignity and independence was promoted. Carers and staff understood the Equality Act and supported people's diverse needs. People had been involved in the assessment of their care and decisions about their support needs and where they should live. People's independence was promoted, and they were given opportunities to personally develop appropriate to their needs and wishes.

The service was well led. Regular monitoring and auditing of care records and practice helped to maintain the quality and values of the service people received. Feedback from people, carers and families was requested to help improve the service.

Rating at last inspection: Good (Report published December 2016)

Why we inspected: We inspected this service as part of our ongoing Adult Social Care inspection programme. This was a planned inspection based on the previous Good rating.

Follow up: The next scheduled inspection will be in keeping with the overall rating. We will continue to monitor information we receive from and about the service. We may inspect sooner if we receive concerning information about the service.

For more details, please see the full report which is on the CQC website at

Inspection carried out on 26 September 2016

During a routine inspection

This was an announced inspection which took place on 26 September 2016 by one inspector.

We gave the provider prior notice that we would be visiting the service because we wanted to make sure people using the service would be available to meet us. When we last inspected the service in December 2013 the provider met all of the regulations we inspected.

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council provides a Shared Lives Scheme. It is registered to provide personal care for adults who may have learning disabilities or autistic spectrum disorder. The scheme provides services across Sandwell and is operated from the Stoney Lane Day Centre.

The Shared Lives Scheme recruits, trains and supports approved carers to provide personal care and support for people living within the carers home. They visited the carers and people living with them on a regular basis to ensure people were happy with the care they received. Placements could be long-term or short breaks enabling people to share in ordinary family life. When we inspected the scheme was supporting 18 people in 14 households.

There was a registered manager in post at the time of our inspection. A registered manager is a person who has registered with the Care Quality Commission to manage the service. Like registered providers, they are ‘registered persons’. Registered persons have legal responsibility for meeting the requirements in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated Regulations about how the service is run.

People told us they felt safe and we saw the recruitment and approval process for carers included safeguarding training before they were approved as a carer. Risks to people’s safety had been identified. Monitoring visits were carried out to ensure the carer’s home environment was safe and that people’s medicines were safely managed.

Prospective carers were approved by an independent panel to ensure recruitment systems were robust. There was a lengthy 'matching' process which ensured people were placed with carers that had the skills to meet their needs. Contingency arrangements were in place so that carers were supported in situations when they could not care for or support the person temporarily.

Carers told us that they were supported and trained by the scheme to carry out their role. The scheme was following the guidance of the Mental Capacity Act to ensure where people lacked capacity to agree to their placement, applications to the Court of Protection were being made. People were complimentary about their meals and had access to healthcare services when they needed them.

People said they were happy with their living arrangements and that their carer supported them with their lifestyle. People were involved in all aspects of family life and considered the place they lived as their home. The daily living arrangements met with their need for privacy and dignity.

People had care plans in place which centred on their wishes and goals. As a result, we heard from them that their quality of life had been enriched.

Everyone spoken with said they received a good quality service and described the management of the scheme as friendly, proactive and supportive.

The registered manager monitored the quality of the scheme and people and carers were able to share their views on the service via surveys.

Inspection carried out on 17 December 2013

During a routine inspection

The Shared Lives scheme recruits self employed carers so it can provide long term placements; short breaks, respite care, and emergency care for adults with a range of needs, within carers own homes. During our inspection we spoke with three carers, the manager, a social worker and one advocate as people using the service were not able to speak with us because they had limited verbal communication skills.

People were supported by advocates and family members to express their wishes and preferences. We saw detailed placement agreements in place which clearly set out the care needs of people. A relative told us, �I don�t know where I would be without the support X receives from the carers.�

We saw that each person had an extensive care plan that was reviewed regularly with an advocate, the individual and Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. (SMBC) This meant that a full assessment was undertaken to ensure that the care provided was in accordance with people�s choices and preferences.

We saw that the provider had systems in place to ensure people were protected from harm. This included detail risk assessments and training for carers who supported people. One relative told us, �I would not let X go anywhere else, the carers treat her like a family member, and X is safe.��

We saw that regular training and support was given to the carers. This meant carers were regularly monitored and trained so they had the skills to care for people.