Family group conferencing in dementia care: an exploration of opportunities and challenges
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Original versionGórska, S., Forsyth, K., Prior, S., Irvine, L. & Haughey, P. (2016) ‘Family group conferencing in dementia care: an exploration of opportunities and challenges’, International Psychogeriatrics, 28(2), pp. 233–246. 10.1017/S1041610215001507
Background: The Family Group Conference (FGC) is an approach to partnership working which brings together service users, their support network and care professionals in a family-led decision making forum. Evidence, though limited, indicates that that FGC can enhance outcomes for service providers and their users. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of the pilot FGC service, delivered to people with dementia and their families, in terms of the experience of care provision by families and care professionals involved in the project. Methods: Focus group interviews were conducted with families and professionals participating in the pilot intervention. Results: FGC was perceived as having the potential to positively impact service users, their families, service providers and the wider culture of care. However, despite an overall positive evaluation the participants identified a number of challenges related to service implementation. Both the opportunities and challenges identified in this study are discussed in the context of the existing international evidence base. Conclusions: This study contributes to a better understanding of the applicability of FGC as a strategy to support people with dementia and their families. Although promising in terms of potential outcomes for service users and providers, FGC presents challenges which need to be carefully managed in order to secure maximum benefit to all parties.