Homeshare UK and our network of Homeshare delivery organisations are here to support you during and beyond the current crisis. Our Homeshare members continue to support Homeshare arrangements and are working within new guidelines to support new arrangements.
We refer the public and anyone in a Homeshare match to follow the UK government guidance. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Wash hands keep washing your hands regularly
- Cover face wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
- Make space stay at least 2 metres apart – or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions
We are currently in a national lockdown. You can see the restrictions in England here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
Restrictions may vary in the nations, please refer to the national guidance where you are living.
If you have coronavirus symptoms:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste
NB Elderly, very young people and people with underlying health conditions or who are immunocompromised may present with atypical or non-specific symptoms
Visit the NHS advice website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Many older people within Homeshare arrangements will have already received their first phase Covid-19 vaccination. The vaccine may not prevent you from catching and passing on the virus, but it is expected to reduce this risk. After receiving the vaccine, it is still important to continue to:
practice social distancing.
wear a face mask.
wash your hands carefully and frequently.
Sharers have not been identified as a vaccine priority group, so are not entitled to a vaccine within the first phase. However, should Sharers have an underlying health condition they may qualify as one of the vaccine priority groups. More information about priority groups can be found here
Guidance for Homeshare Organisations operating during the Covid-19 pandemic
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 are making new matches in the safest possible way.
Homeshare UK has produced guidance to support our members and provide a framework in which to operate during this time.
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
- Ensuring those households that wish to remain together 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, usual activities no longer happening and collecting shopping and medicines.
- Ensure there are plans and agreements in writing to support any changes to the 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.
Guidance and Best Practice on making new Homeshare arrangements during Covid-19
There are thousands of older people now living alone in isolation. While family and friends can form support bubbles, we are once again in a national lockdown and many of the usual services and activities are still not open. Isolation and Loneliness can have crippling health impacts.
The approach we suggest you consider is:
- Risk assess each new client. Consider whether their needs can be met via Homeshare.
- 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 if this isn’t possible.
- If conducting home visits, try to maintain social distancing, wear face coverings and meet in the garden if possible.
- 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. Eg carry out a full risk assessment considering all the key areas for concern. Consider, will the sharer be going out tot work? Who else will be accessing the property regularly? How is hygiene in the shared spaces to be maintained.
- Ensure you have plans in place with all parties involved should either party have Coronavirus symptoms
- 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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call the head office number and leave a message and one the team will get back to you
0151 277 3499