Back to all stories

Family Group Conferencing in care homes

“FGC, as a decision-making mechanism, provides a radically different means of engaging people and their families”

Professor Peter Marsh, Emeritus Professor, University of Sheffield.

Olivia* is a care home manager who recently engaged with people at her first FGC. Irene* lives in the home Olivia runs. Irene’s family had some concerns and raising these had led to tensions developing between them and Olivia and her team. The social worker David* suggested an FGC as a way forward for everyone. Everyone hoped that FGC might make life better for Irene and for all the people who love and care about her.

Philip was the FGC coordinator, and Olivia said it was good to have a neutral and independent person to lead the meeting and help everyone to have their say on Irene’s behalf. The meeting took place away from the Care Home in a neutral venue, which created the perfect environment for a focused conversation free from interruptions. Irene was unable to come to the meeting but Philip made sure that the focus throughout was on her, who she is as person, what she wants and needs to live her life her way and the support she will need from her family and care home staff for this to happen.

The meeting meant that Irene’s family and Olivia could sit down, communicate and realise they were on the same team, with Irene’s best interests at heart. Oliva commented on the informal atmosphere, and the great food and drink provided; she even took some home to enjoy.

Olivia was grateful that the FGC provided another means of support for Irene’s family, her and her team. She said overall it felt supportive with Philip ensuring everybody’s voice was heard. David was able to share his thoughts too.

The FGC Plan documented what the family wanted for Irene whilst she was living in the care home. It was sent to everyone who came to the meeting by email so that all parties owned what had been agreed and felt accountable in a positive way.

Olivia said there was a feeling of apprehension before the meeting from both the family and her and her staff, but after the meeting, everyone felt a sense of relief that it went so positively.

Since the meeting there has been an improvement in trust and communication between Irene’s family and staff who work at the care home. Irene has really benefitted as a result of everyone getting on better. Olivia hopes if there is ever another dispute, with the family of someone who lives in the care home she runs, they can consider an FGC to resolve it.

*all names have been changed

We are proud of the Adult Family Group Conference work and the progress you in ASC Camden have made. That is why we are going to send a fortnightly email to spotlight some simple stories, feedback and outcomes for adults, practitioners and FGC Coordinators.

If you would like to know more about FGC, follow this link to our film celebrating 20 years of FGC in Camden: