“Planet Serviceland, this is Planet Family calling. Do you copy? Over.”
There is no doubt that Dimensions colleagues strive to do the very best they can for the people they support, in line with their training and their obligations to the Care Act, Mental Capacity Act and so on, as the headline statistic above shows. Equally there’s no doubt that families strive to do the best they can for their loved ones, in line with their love and their parenting or sibling experience and expectations.
So what happens when these worlds collide?
Family consultants make an impact right across Dimensions. There is a family representative at Board level and a team of 15 family consultants and associate consultants doing quality visits and calls.All our family consultants have lived experience of adult social care. Many have relatives supported by Dimensions.
Unsurprisingly, in this year of Covid-19, a lot of our family consultants work has been helping families find ways to see their loved ones without causing risk to those around them and in line with guidance. We’ve been pretty successful at that and helped maintain a lot of relationships.
Our family consultants are needed most when things go wrong or when there are disagreements. If a support team, for example, is focused on a person’s right to make unwise decisions (smoking too much perhaps) whilst a family is thinking about what’s in their best interests (cutting down.)
Too often in the past, family consultants were called upon when things were almost irretrievable. In these delicate and rare situations, mediation via a family consultant may prevent support breakdown, keep the wellbeing of the person we support at the centre of everyone’s thinking and set the scene for a fresh start. We’re very proud of each individual success story. The contribution of our family consultants may also help the family and the next provider start on the right foot.
If you’re a family member reading this, your first ports of call should be the Dimensions Family Pledge, which sets out our commitment to working with families, our factsheets for families on many important topics and the Family helpline, launched last year, which provides a real person to sense check any concerns with between 10-12 Monday to Friday on 0300 303 9161.
We are also rolling out a new ‘Family Portal.’ This will allow many family members to see photos of their relative’s day, check out their diary, read the daily notes and get in touch easily. There is a real opportunity going forward to bring families even closer into the daily life of their loved one. Bringing those planets closer together.