Our Clinical Director, Samantha Houdmont, wrote this for John’s Campaign. You can find out more about John’s Campaign at www.johnscampaign.org.uk

Being person-centred means that when we plan care with the person, we think about the effect of what we’re doing on the person as a whole. This means that we always have the person’s safety, comfort and well-being uppermost in our mind. There is so much we can do to promote people’s safety. Ensuring people are comfortable calls for us to be aware of the things that can cause discomfort, and taking steps to relieve them. Having people’s well-being at the forefront of everything that we do means that nothing we do – or don’t do – causes the person any physical, emotional or social harm.

It is simply not enough, for us as Home care providers, to say that we are person centred, we must evidence this is in our practice. This means making sure that care plans are inclusive of the person that it concerns. Any lack of capacity, should not be an excuse to discuss the individual and formulate a plan of care without their input- however small, it all matters!

This is particularly useful to have the assistance of friends and family, to assist carers get to know their loved one. This is turn, will enable carers to work in a more holistic way, as it will give them conversation and interest points to build up a report and help to make your loved one feel more at ease.

Family and friends are so important in the process of caring for someone. For some family member’s, they have known their loved one for a significant amount of time (often married for many years) and for some reason it seems to be a cultural thing that they are then excluded from care once a care provider or their loved one goes into hospital. This can be very distressing for the person and for their family member – having to worry if their loved one is being taken care of like they would be by them at home.

Being person-Centred means to include family members in the care of their loved one. Having them to advocate and assist especially when someone is taken into hospital that has Dementia, can make a huge difference in the way that they respond to treatment. It also enables families to continue to give care in the way that they know their loved ones need. Having a family member present at time of treatment is something that I have always encouraged during my Nursing career. Even with the best wills in the world, Nurses are not afforded the time that patient’s need. Having a family member advocate for their loved one is such a huge help and relieve worry and stress that Nurses are under, especially on high turnover wards, where it’s not possible to get the quality of time to get to know everyone’s likes/ dislikes and preferences. Families play an important part in filling in the gaps about a person background. They can also make sure that that extra time required for their loved ones are available. This in turn assists their nutritional intake.

If your relative is going into hospital, make sure that you speak to the Nurse in charge of their care, explain that your relative needs extra support and that you would like to stay with them. Your request cannot be reasonable denied, especially if you explain the benefits that your presence will have on you family member and remind them that it will also assist with the work load of the ward.

Equally, when someone is at home, there is no reason why family members cannot be involved in the care of their loved one. They can also be supported in their training needs to make sure that they are supported to safely carry out certain task. If in doubt, ask your Home Care provider if you can remain involved. For Home Care providers- remember that care is about the person, they are the center focus. Involving them and their loved ones at every point has emotional and physical benefits. It also empowers the person, when they may feel they have very little control. Small choice can make huge differences in the way that care is delivered, and should be part of every day practice to maintain high standards in care delivery.

This is why, we at Willowstone are supporting Johns Campaign.

John’s Campaign is a campaign for extended visiting rights for family carers of patients with dementia in hospitals in the United Kingdom, founded on 30 November 2014 by the writers Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones.

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