Dementia Shared Lives

ContactKelly Field
Telephone01233 652401
AddressCounty Hall, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1XQ

In the West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group area there is a significant short fall in affordable care home places, which causes difficulties in securing quality care and impacts of hospital discharges.

Through this project we aim to develop a viable alternative person centred option to care home placements for people living with dementia.

The Dementia Shared Lives Project, will seek to develop a bank of Shared Lives placements, where people open their own homes to provide care to people with dementia, these placements could be used for long term care, rehabilitation/recuperation, respite short breaks and social and day activity.

We will work to find suitable Shared Lives placements and will support the recruitment and training and ongoing support of ‘host families’.

The project will initial only run in two of Kent’s 6 localities – those being Maidstone and Malling and Southwest Kent – which are coterminous with the West Kent CCG catchment area,  if sucessful this pilot will be extended Kent wide.

The project will run for 2 years, reviewed throughout and if successful will be continued alongside the Kent Shared Lives (Adult Placement Scheme) service.


  • to give people with dementia and their carers more control and choice about how and where support is provided
  • to enable people with dementia to experience care and support in ordinary life settings through real relationships, rather than to be provided with a service, and
  • to develop the capacity of the community to support people with dementia

Shared Lives will not be an “off the peg” service, rather our intention is for it to be highly personalised, relying on achieving a match between the individual requiring support and the Shared Lives host who wishes to support them.

We plan to raise the profile of the service and its benefits and offer an alternative to more formal types of services used for people with dementia.

We plan to use the services and its ethos of matching to change the culture in case management teams to be more proactive in planning for the long term care needs of people with dementia, altering the crisis model which currently means most placements are made in haste at time of crisis and often following a hospital admission.

Anticipated outcomes

To realise its value and potential, Shared Lives needs to be better known and understood by case managers.  We plan to ensure the use of Shared Lives becomes embedded in local teams practice and so we plan to appoint a project/case manager with admin support to:

  • Work with case management teams to identify people who may benefit from using a Shared Lives service.
  • Work with people living with dementia and their carers to find suitable person centred placements
  • Work with local voluntary groups to develop awareness of Shared Lives and its benefits.
  • Identify potential opportunities/resources for recruiting more host families and raising awareness of the service.
  • Improve the recruitment time for host families when application level is high.
  • Reduce the cost of services for people with Dementia – Keep records of the current potential cost to social services for individuals and the saving made by using a Shared Lives service.
  • Monitor the benefits of Shared Lives as opposed to traditional care home settings.
  • Look to reduce unnecessary use of high cost services by ensuring the “access to services” team have awareness of Shared Lives services.
  • A supportive and personalised real life setting where care and support needs for people with dementia can be met.
  • Peace of mind for carers and family members that their loved one is receiving personalised one to one support.
  • Carers will be provided with breaks whilst the Shared Lives worker provides support to the person with dementia.
  • The Shared Lives worker can begin building strong relationships with the person with dementia and the family providing a familiar face to the person with dementia.  The Shared Lives carer will also be an additional support to the family.
  • The Shared Lives scheme monitor the workers on a regular basis, this provides a closer link with the case management teams funding the service.  This monitoring will assist the case management service with vital information and feedback on the individual with dementia.

When the person’s dementia deteriorates there may be an option to move on to a Shared Lives service instead of a care home placement service.


We plan to evaluate the cost of providing care based on the Shared Lives model against providing care through traditional services; in our established learning disability scheme we have proven to be a highly cost effective alternative often far more cost effective than other forms of support.

We will capture information about the usage of the service, how many and how often the service was used.  As well as creating a library of real life stories telling how the support offered by the scheme has provided improved outcomes and benefitted those using it.

A final report will be produced and presented to The Kent and Medway Dementia Collaborative.

The ongoing support for the scheme if proven successful will be through inclusion in future commissioning strategies.

Progress update

The shared lives dementia project aims to recruit and approve host families to provide support for a person with Dementia in the host families home. This will be for long term, short breaks and day support. The service so far has been out promoting the service in the west of Kent to local communities, libararies, gateways, voluntary sector. Meeting with commissioning Case management teams and advertising the service to recruit more hosts to work with people with Dementia.

The service is currently approving host families, training, assessing and ensuring these people have the right skills to fulfill the role.

The shared lives service capacity depends on the number of host families that apply and are approved. This provides the vacancies for people with dementia. If we are able to provide the service successfully during the project this could mean the service can continue to expand.