CHARMS - Shared Lives

Shared Lives, The Story So Far

Shared Lives – What Is It?

Shared Lives carers share their homes with people over 18 who have been assessed as needing support. The support provided by Shared Lives carers, sometimes known as hosts or providers, can be a few hours or days per week or sharing their home on a long-term basis.

Lancashire Shared Lives – Using CHARMS Since 2008

CHARMS was first used in the Shared Lives community the Lancashire Shared Lives team in 2008. CHARMS has helped to keep their case records safe for over 14 years. The team see CHARMS as a vital part of their day-to-day activities and have helped us in turn to develop CHARMS even further.

Gloucestershire Shared Lives

More recently, in February 2020, Gloucestershire Shared Lives asked us to deliver a presentation of CHARMS at their Carers Awareness Session at Gloucester Farmers Club. We were given a one-hour slot in their carers get together. Everyone engaged and the carers could see how CHARMS would help them to keep all their sensitive records safe. As one of the GSL Shared Lives officers said “CHARMS has transformed the way we work, and the carers love the fact that we comment back on the events in the people’s lives that they share”.

Sefton New Directions

The Shared Lives service at Sefton New Directions came next. In July 2021 we delivered 10 separate short training sessions, to groups of 5 or 6 carers at a time in Bootle and Southport. Every session was fun and now everyone is enjoying sharing their people’s achievements and progress in real time, through CHARMS. We have worked closely with the Shared Lives team, and there is a desire to utilise all of the features of CHARMS. The project continues.

Worcestershire Share Lives

Also in 2021, Worcestershire Shared Lives, got in touch to start things moving with the implementation of CHARMS. Due to COVID restrictions we didn’t get the chance to meet the carers face-to-face but our team delivered one-to-one sessions with carers and Shared Lives officers in the second half of the year and the teams is beginning to see the benefits of having everything in one place.

What have we learned?

It has become clear that adult services, and Shared Lives in particular, can take advantage of the technologies now available to improve communication between all the stakeholders.

Though we have been working with children’s and adults’ services for more than 25 years we still have much to learn from those who deliver care and support, and from the people behind the scenes who in turn support all of those involved.

The message from them all is clear:

  • No more paper files
  • No paper diaries
  • No spreadsheets
  • No word documents
  • No emails between shared lives carers and shared lives officers. Just CHARMS, everything in one place, secure and accessible.

In the words of a valued customer:

“I would like to thank you all for your support with the implementation. It was overwhelming at the start for us transferring from paper files to Charms but you have all been amazing, supporting us through the transition, always making us feel like nothing was too much trouble. I would also like to add the training has been excellent too not only for the Shared Lives team but also for the Shared Lives carers who were nervous at the start with the transfer but after they received the training, they were happy and eager to get started. Once again thank you.”
Karen Bennett, Registered Service Manager - Shared Lives and Supported Living Service, New Directions