Carers, families and friends are your partners
Those who are important in people’s personal lives – their partners, carers, family members and friends – should remain important when they move into a care home. They are vital to the residents’ wellbeing and safety. The sustained and accepted involvement of families and carers is one of their best protections against abuse and neglect.
Checklist for owners and managers
- Staff should be trained to be comfortable with the presence of families and friends in the home and to work with them as partners.
- Make full use of technology to promote contact with friends and family: mobile phones, Skype, and the web.
- Families and friends should be your allies in ensuring that the details of a person’s history, strengths, and preferences are respected in the home.
- Families and friends may be able to support staff in coping with aspects of the person’s condition or behaviour which would otherwise be misunderstood. (Watch the Nursing and Midwifery Council video, Doing our Best)
- Families and friends may be the first people to notice a change in behaviour – for example, due to loneliness, a sense of loss or bereavement, or depression. (For examples of good practice in working with Families, go to My Home Life, Bulletin 19 ‘We Are Family’)
- Carers themselves need the support of staff: they may be mourning the ‘loss’ of the person they used to know, or have feelings of guilt or failure at the admission of their relative to a care home.
- Carers may wish (with the agreement of their relatives) to continue to undertake some practical care tasks which were theirs in the past. They may enjoy joining residents for meals, and some may want to become regular volunteers at the home.
- Residents have a right to visits from family and friends, and care home staff should respect this. If they want privacy, they should be given it. Even if residents lack capacity, their right to visits should be upheld, unless it can be shown that they are not in the person’s best interests.
- Care home staff should be aware that carers have a right under the Care Act 2014 to an assessment of their needs, and should be prepared to direct carers to the relevant local authority. For more details, go to Carers UK: What are my rights as a carer?.