FGC allowed the network to organise support for the primary carer

We have had a number of stories that relate to carers over the last year but this one has been chosen because it supported the carer to realise - with a little help - he can continue to look after his wife in the family home.

Cristina recently held a second FGC review for a family, this and the previous FGCs revolved around care planning for an older couple who were first referred to Adult Social Care by Camden Memory Service.

The focus of the initial FGC meeting was on planning care for the older woman who lives with Alzheimer’s, and a little support for her husband who is her primary carer. At the time of this referral the woman was staying awake most of the night, and her husband was feeling the impact of sleepless hours on his own health.

A small package of care was in place alongside some occasional carer support from family members. The husband found his wife’s behavior challenging at times and struggled to find time for himself – he did not want the wider family and network to know the extent of his struggles.

In the first FGC, the participants agreed to explore full-time care options, graduating from their current part-time care package. They also identified a friend and family member who could take the woman out for tea and a walk to allow her husband some respite. They also arranged to support him to participate in some of his own personal interests, such as attending virtual meetings in a particular room in their house. The room needed to have a lock – he was clear that it was necessary for him to go to these meetings without his wife’s knowledge, as she would be very distressed and interrupt his much-needed time alone.

The family has had three FGC meetings thus far, and although they have been dealing with one issue at a time, they have found implementing the changes difficult. In the latest meeting, the husband was preparing for a trip to see family in another country. With his understanding of how an FGC can focus the network the husband asked for another FGC to coordinate the care for his wife while he was away.

The FGC Coordinator observed that all people involved found the FGC review process useful as it allowed them to revisit the issues explored previously to focus on their roles to support this family.

All participants thought the FGC was especially supportive of the husband, who remains the primary carer.

Rozeta is a social worker and describes FGC as a great tool. Like a multi-tool that combines utensils such as a nail file and bottle opener into one, the FGC tool is multi-functional.

An older man had lived with dementia for three years before his wife who was his primary carer reported concerns that he had become disoriented and was starting to forget things.

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