#DEMENTIAACTIONWEEK – Thought for the Day – Collaborative Care


Collaborative Care is very much at the forefront of our ethos at The Filo Project. We see how people naturally start to care for each other within the specific dynamic of the group whether that be host to client, client to host or client to client. It is about care being done ‘with’ and not ‘to’ someone and is very much a two-way, not one-way street. Clients become active givers of care to others and the weekly meetings provide an opportunity to undertake this rather crucial element of being human.

*In the car, Phyllis always sits next to Mavis, who is registered blind, holds her hand and talks her through the journey describing what she can see and explaining where we are going.

*Roger always proffers an arm to the ladies to lead them from the lounge to the dining room.

*When the brakes on David’s rollator were playing up, Brian remembered his tool kit the following week and the men upended their machines and set to with the spanners. (A safety check was carried out before they went home with them.)

*One of the ladies who comes to my group always asks about my daughter and always wants to be up to date with what she is doing. It feels lovely that she is so interested and remembers
from week to week.

*Phillip is aware of Hugh’s difficulty in expressing himself and allows him time to do so. When playing a game of dominos, if he sees that Hugh is stuck, he also gently suggests which tile to put down.

*Leslie has taken on a fatherly role and likes to remind me to check the tire pressures and put oil in the car regularly.

*Jean always offers the vegetables round at lunch to the other clients and checks that everyone has gravy.

*Marjorie and Bill showed me how to take cuttings from my favourite shrub.

*Mildred knows that Maureen feels the cold and will ask for a blanket for her knees or ask me to heat up the wheat pad for her to cuddle.

These are just a few examples of the types of interactions that happen on a daily basis in a Filo group and demonstrate this idea of collaborative care. The Filo model shifts the power balance, as we mentioned previously this week, and puts clients back on a level playing field where they can both give and receive.

Collaborative Care also extends to how The Filo Project interacts with client families. An Area Coordinator always meets with family prior to a client starting, in order to gain a full picture of the client but also to see how the carer/family are coping. We are always at the end of the phone and families know that they can contact us about anything, at any time – whether that is concerns about their loved one or questions about where to get further support. We are always happy to signpost to other services and suggest alternative support options where available.

Filo hosts build up close relationships with family and are always happy to have a quick chat at the end of the day and will follow up by phone when appropriate. Spending six hours a day with a client, sometimes several times a week, in a small group setting, means that the hosts are well-placed to notice any mental or physical changes in a client and can provide crucial feedback.

Collaborative Care is something that we pursue with medical professionals such as GPs and hospital staff, as well as Adult Social Care and support agencies such as the Admiral Nurses and Village Agents who actively refer people they think might benefit from a day with The Filo Project. We liaise between services and do whatever we can to ensure that people living with dementia can access the support they need.

Our host Jane said:
“l had one client who had very dry skin on her hands and another client would always say ‘Jane, have you got any hand cream?’ And she would massage the cream into the other client’s hands.

“Before starting hosting I thought it would be about ‘me giving to them’ but now it’s more ‘what they give back to me. We always talk about it being ‘a day out with friends’ but ‘it’s a day out with my friends too.”