Bridging the support void. Can the Residential Care Transition Module improve the psychological health of family carers during the residential care placement process in Australia?
Many people with dementia eventually move into residential care. Making this decision and coping with admission processes can be stressful and distressing. These feelings may be heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic if families are not able to visit care facilities due to lockdown and/or are concerned about transmission. However, carers report that formal supports to help families cope during this time are lacking. This study aims to test delivery of a telephone/video counselling intervention during the residential care placement process to help reduce stress and distress for family carers. The Residential Care Transition Module (RCTM) consists of six telephone or video-link counselling sessions delivered to family carers over 12 weeks by a trained health or social care professional. It includes education about dementia and residential care facilities, dementia-specific grief counselling, stress reduction techniques, and referral to support networks. The proposed pilot study will test whether delivery of the RCTM following Aged Care Assessment Team approval for residential care is feasible and potentially beneficial in reducing family carer stress, anxiety, depression, guilt, and grief, and improving social support during the course of placement. This may help carers to better cope and adjust once their relative has been admitted into residential care.
Dr Brooks is a Project Coordinator at the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration, Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.