How Positive Family Relationships Are Key To Effective Care
Family members may experience a number of difficulties when their loved one is admitted to a care home, but they still play a very important role in the care of the resident. Even when they are no longer able to care for their loved one at home, families can help care homes to provide excellent care and, at the same time, maintain their personal relationship with the resident.
Many people are familiar with the concept of person-centred care, in which the individual is placed at the centre of any decisions regarding their care and valued as a unique individual. Relationship-centred care builds on this and focuses on the relationship between the resident, their family and the care home staff. It is particularly important in the context of dementia care, because family members are often able to provide information about the person’s past, their likes and dislikes, beliefs and values that they may no longer be able to express for themselves.
Dementia care can be difficult and challenging for care home staff, so involving the families of care home residents can be beneficial to everyone. The following six senses have been identified as important in understanding relationships between the person with dementia, family members and care home staff: a sense of belonging, a sense of security, a sense of continuity, a sense of achievement, a sense of purpose and a sense of significance. All the parties involved can experience these differently, but they are all important for maintaining the family relationship.
Maintaining family relationships can be difficult when a person goes into a care home, but good communication between staff and family members can help to ensure that staff have all the information they need to provide good care and that family members are reassured that their loved one is well cared for. It also helps the person with dementia to feel safe and secure knowing they are surrounded by friendly people.
When relatives of care home residents are made to feel that they are part of the team looking after their loved one, it can help them to come to terms with any negative feelings they may have about no longer being the person’s sole carer. Being able to express any concerns freely and discuss any problems with staff are also very important. Care home staff can help relatives to understand and maintain family relationships, and family members can show staff that their work is appreciated.
Far from being excluded from the care, relatives can be a real help in the day-to-day lives of a loved one living in a care home.