Care homes should perhaps remember that it is very possible that many families would have been through some great traumas and dilemmas together, or on their own, before their loved ones enter your home. Families can often feel ashamed of their loved one who may have changed right in front of their eyes, from someone that they have known and loved for many years, to a completely different person. The embarrassment of having to admit they cannot cope any longer with their family member is a very real feeling. However, family members’ care, should not stop completely now that they have found others to do what they could not cope with themselves. This project is a simple idea, but its roots are based on Care coupled with Honesty and Transparency.
Understanding everyone’s needs is crucial to the success of this partnership support scheme. I am of the belief that it is families who have to go through a process of ‘change’ sometimes, even more than their relatives might do, especially when a loved one has dementia for example.
As a commitment, a family member is encouraged to get involved, especially at the weekends when quite often families would be free to offer help and support with activities. The scheme does take a little time to build. Connecting families together is like any social group anywhere. You will always get the same people supporting various activities and other families may not really want to bother, or may not be able to give the time and effort that others can give. This is perfectly normal, and we should direct all our efforts towards the positive supporters and not concentrate on the negatives. You will soon have families supporting your home and working out their own rotas and routines with each other, that will fit around the weekends.
By linking families together, will allow them to be able to support each other, not only from a practical position, but from a social one too.
As you will know, because of the Data Protection Act, we would not be allowed to contact families directly, but this does not stop the home from writing to families informing them of your new exciting ideas. We will give you a letter to present to families which will inform them about this project.