As the U.K. population ages, family and friends are increasingly called upon to provide care and support to their older relatives. With the development of the U.K’s national dementia strategy in 2011 and interventions for carers now referenced within both clinical and commissioning guidance (NICE, 2006 & 2013 respectively), working in partnership with carers is now viewed as an essential component of best practice.
The kind of care provided by family and friends varies greatly—from managing treatment and medication regimens to practical support with daily living. While some find caregiving terribly stressful, others find it hugely rewarding. Regardless of the nature of care, it is often the carer who knows the person best; their likes, dislikes, what has worked well for them and, particularly in the case of dementia, offer a sense of the person before they became unwell.
The Meriden Programme has always held an interest in the practical application of family work within Older Adult settings. Several bespoke courses have been delivered over the years focusing on the implementation of family work in both Acute (hospital) and Community environments. Consideration has been paid to how components of the BFT model may need to be adapted, together with the specific skills, staff competences and resources required to work with older adults.