We know there’s a lot of information going around about how to respond to coronavirus COVID-19.  Homeshare UK and our network of Homeshare delivery organisations are here to support you. Our Homeshare members are still supporting Homeshare arrangements and working within new guidelines to support new arrangements.

We refer the public and anyone in a Homesahre match to follow the UK government guidance. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

Stay alert

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

Keep in touch with friends and neighbours and your Homeshare organisations through phone or video calls.

 

Guidance for Homeshare Organisations operating during Covid-19

Homesharers have become a lifeline to many older and vulnerable people during the Covid-19 outbreak. People that would otherwise have been living alone in isolation have companionship and support at home, as well as a lifeline to get shopping and other supplies. Family members who are now even further away are reassured that their older relatives have company and help at home.

Our members who are Homeshare providers are working hard to support existing Homeshare Households and some are making new matches where appropriate and safe to do so.

Homeshare UK has produced guidance to support our members and provide a framework in which to operate during this time.

The full guidance can be viewed in the resource library here

Here are some of the ways we have adapted our practices to support people in Homeshare during the Pandemic:

 

Maintaining and Supporting Existing Homeshare Households

  • Ensure those households that wish to remain together during the lockdown period are supported is a priority.
  • Identify Homeshare households where there are particular risks, including those where either party is in an at-risk group.
  • Work with family members, support networks and any professionals involved to put plans in place in the event of changes to services such as domiciliary care visits, trips to day centres ending, no family visits and collecting shopping and medicines.
  • Ensure there are plans and agreements in writing to support any changes to support provided
  • Signpost people to government guidance on social distancing and ways to protect themselves at home such as hand hygiene and increased cleaning of shared areas in the home.
  • Look for offers of help from community organisations.  Ask Householders and Homesharers what they are most concerned about and the pressures on their household: support them or connect them to sources of support to reduce anxiety, stress and pressure in their households. Some pressures will be cumulative if self-isolation extends into a long period: these should be discussed and reviewed regularly.  Lack of information or contact can increase anxiety.

 

Guidance and Best Practice on making new Homeshare arrangements during Covid-19

There are thousands of older people now living alone in isolation unable to see family and without access to their usual services and activities. Isolation and loneliness can have crippling health impacts.

Thousands of older people in hospital are being discharged, many may be back at home and isolating alone with reduced care and support packages due to pressures on the social care system.

Homesharers may be able to make a contribution to supporting those without complex needs by providing vital companionship to people on their own at home and by reducing the number of people who might need to go to hospital due to trips/falls and other incidents that might occur from being at home alone.

Homeshare UK advice to organisations is:

  • Risk assess each new client. Consider whether their needs can be met via Homeshare while maintaining social distancing measures.
  • Where it is felt that support needs are too high refer and signpost to other support organisations, and the local authority.
  • Continue to carry out all the necessary checks on both the Homesharer and the Householder. Utilise existing support networks and family members that are in contact to assist with home checks, introduction meetings and anything else you might have done in person.
  • Ensure ways of communicating with Homeshare matches are agreed and accessible eg video calling.
  • Ensure all parties involved in the Homeshare household and the wider support network are aware of the risks, have disclosed all relevant information and agree to the arrangement.
  • Ensure you have plans in place with all parties involved should either party have Coronavirus symptoms, need to see a GP or go to hospital.
  • Consider drawing up Covid-19 specific clauses and terms in the Homeshare agreement to cover all eventualities.

 

Summary of additional checks in new matches:

  • Are there any risks of the individual having been exposed to COVID-19?
  • Does the individual and/or their family / advocates understand what is being offered, including its risks and benefits, and how they compare with available alternative choices?
  • Have the needs, safety and wellbeing of the rest of the household been fully considered, and any risks identified and assessed?
  • What back-up needs to be in place for this arrangement to be viable and safe: including out of hours advice and support?

 

Homeshare UK and Shared Lives Plus will continue to review and update this guidance on a regular basis as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Shared Lives Plus is the UK membership body for all people and individuals involved in Shared Lives and Homeshare and is issuing regularly updated guidance to the Homeshare sector on this webpage.

You can contact the Homeshare UK team via email at [email protected] or call the head office number and leave a message and one the team will get back to you

0151 277 3499

 

Page last updated 11th May 2020