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Dr Assumpta Ryan (Ulster) – A time of transition: family caregiving, older people and long-term care

This presentation will bring together the findings from a range of qualitative and mixed methods studies on family caregiving and entry to long-term care from the perspective of older people and their families. The changing philosophy surrounding the provision of health and social care across Europe has resulted in a shift in policy from institutional to community based care. This shift lies at the heart of the ‘Transforming Your Care’ agenda in Northern Ireland. While there is strong evidence to suggest that older people wish to remain in their own homes, it is important to acknowledge the needs of family carers in supporting older relatives to stay at home and age in place. When caregiving is needed, family members provide support, but frequently find that they are unprepared for their new roles as caregivers and decision-makers. Although family caregivers have a strong commitment to their caring role, deterioration in their relative’s condition or their own inability to cope, coupled with the challenges in accessing information and support, often results in the move to a care home. The presentation will explore the decision-making processes surrounding entry to nursing or residential care facilities, and the impact of this transition on older people and their families. Recognising that entry to care will always be a difficult experience, the presentation will highlight ways of making it easier for older people, families and care home staff. [Policy Briefing] [Presentation]

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