Consultants for caregivers
Within the framework of In for Care, the Municipality of Hoogeveen, Dutch partner in the project, is currently running a pilot where specialized consultants are being deployed, as part of a multi-disciplinary team, to focus on matters concerning overburdened caregivers.
Twelve teams, each associated with a general practice in Hoogeveen, now have the extra benefit of a caregiver’s consultant. As well as a GP, the multi-disciplinary teams also include a doctor’s nurse, a district nurse, a social worker, a municipal social support consultant and a geriatric specialist from the regional hospital.
The aim of these teams is to identify the vulnerable elderly, and then to visit and give them the support and care they need, all in close cooperation with the general practitioners.
The added value of caregiver’s consultants is that they don’t focus exclusively on the elderly. Following indications from the GP they can trace and identify those who are, or threaten to be, overloaded with caregiving responsibilities and guide them towards suitable forms of help and support.
The consultants offer individual counselling, information and advice, emotional support and, where needed, respite care. They can also refer the caregiver to other intern or extern services (e.g. voluntary homecare, day care, guest houses and care farms).
During the pilot our IFC partner TGO, the research division of the University Medical Centre Groningen, are investigating the following theories:
- Multi-disciplinary teams in general practices are an efficient way to trace overloaded caregivers.
- The consultant for caregivers alleviates the work load of the GP and other care professionals.
- Using specialized consultants can help alleviate the burden experienced by overloaded caregivers.
Research will be carried out through interviews, questionnaires and analysis. It goes without saying that the results will be shared with all In for Care partners, and the intention is to publish in a Dutch professional journal.