PSS Shared Lives

Our statement on the CareRooms ‘NHS AirBnB’ scheme

At PSS, we offer a Home from Hospital scheme that helps get vulnerable adults out of hospital sooner and safely, reducing the pressure on the NHS caused by ‘bed blocking’. As a social care organisation, we think that the new scheme proposed by CareRooms to allow vulnerable people to ‘rent’ a room in a stranger’s house who has no care skills, no safeguarding knowledge and no drive to care for someone is cause for real concern.

The PSS Home from Hospital Scheme works by providing a vulnerable person who has had a hospital stay with up to six weeks of recuperative care with a fully-trained, registered carer in the carer’s own home. This scheme is part of our Shared Lives service, which we have been providing across the UK for over 40 years. Shared Lives provides a form of support where vulnerable adults and young people over the age of 16 have the opportunity to live with a specially-recruited and trained carer and their family, after they’ve been through a matching process.

Our Home from Hospital scheme, a pilot we have been running for the past 18 months, uses our existing Shared Lives model to help people who are ready to be discharged from hospital, but not quite ready (or unable) to live independently, to recuperate in a home environment. We match a recovery placement based on the needs of the person being discharged and the abilities and environment of the Shared Lives carer. The scheme not only facilitates their recovery in a comfortable family setting, but also ensures that they are discharged sooner, reducing the risk of infection in hospital and creating bed capacity within the NHS. All of our Shared Lives carers are fully-trained professionals. We provide them with skills in care, safeguarding, dignity and other specialist care skills and the care they provide is fully regulated by the CQC.

Lesley Dixon, Chief Executive of PSS, says that, even though it’s still in the making, the new ‘NHS Airbnb scheme’ proposed by CareRooms does not meet the needs of vulnerable people: ‘For us, the proposed ‘NHS Airbnb’ idea of vulnerable people leaving hospital being cared for by someone who is untrained, unregulated and inexperienced in providing professional care causes real concern. It’s a bit like the idea of buying prescription drugs from an online retailer – how would people know the drugs they’re buying are the right ones for their needs? Is the online retailer an expert in medicine and able to personalise the drugs to the person, and know what’s right for them? How would you know that the drugs are safe?

Our Home from Hospital scheme can reduce the issue of bed blocking for the NHS, and delivering it costs around the same as what the proposed scheme is going to pay people to rent out their homes. The difference is, our scheme is regulated by the Care Quality Commission and delivered by trained, registered carers.’

Stephanie is a trained and vetted Shared Lives carer who has provided Home from Hospital care. Talking about the new scheme being proposed, she said: ‘The idea being proposed worries me.  To me, being a Shared Lives carer is not just a way to earn money; it’s a way to give something meaningful to another person. I’m fully trained to do this job and PSS supports me to provide the best quality care I can give – who’s going to do that with the new scheme being proposed?’

Our carers welcome the people they care for into their families and integrate them into their lives. The people who use our Shared Lives scheme get far more than microwaved meals and companionship. We’re committed to making sure vulnerable people have the opportunity to get care that suits their needs in a safe, caring environment – and we’ll continue to provide high-quality services that people can rely on.

For more information about Shared Lives, click here.