Project Idea and Objectives

Project Idea

The overall objective of this project is to empower care giving family members and to provide access not only to relevant medical information, but also to psychological support for their own needs. The goal is to focus on “Caring for You” and “Caring for the Individual”.

The Family Caregiver Support Consortium will create Guidelines and a Resource Pack that aims at:

  • empowering citizens to develop self-confidence and patients competence in their caring for family members with mental illness.
  • ensuring immediate access to helpful products and information at any place or any time in all languages of the partnership: The products of this project will be available not only as interactive web-based contents, but also as mobile apps.
  • including refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who have no or only little command of the host country’s language: Thus the materials will be translated – also into Arabic and Pashtun.

The primary target groups for our project are adults who are caring for a family member with mental disease. The secondary target group are people working in health and social care organisations who can inform family caregivers about the existence of our Guidelines and Resource Pack or use the materials in their information and counselling activities. Also refugee and migrant counsellors belong to this target group, as they can disseminate the materials among their clients. Stakeholders are the key actors in public health care and institutions dealing with migrants and the integration of refugees.

Objectives and Outputs

The outputs of the Family Caregiver Support Programme will consist of four seperate modules:

The Family Caregiver Support Guide

The Support Guide provides secure quality information, support, and resources for family caregivers for patients with chronic mental diseases and cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s, dementia and other illnesses to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. It will focus on:

  • Caregiving Issues and Strategies: with practical care strategies, stress relief,how to handle family issues
  • Caregiving concerns (safety, exhaustion, and problems with everyday care
  • Resistance to care
  • Communication Strategies
  • Understanding the behaviour of people with dementia, or psychosis, depression, substance related disorders
  • Conduct disorders in children etc.

Target group:

  • Family members who care for or live with a person with severe mental disorder or cognitive impairment.
  • Volunteers in the care of people with severe mental illness without appropriate training in dealing with specific conditions and manifestations of severe mental diseases.

Each module of the guide will have a definition, followed by the objectives and contents of that module. Following these sections, there will be a selection of short activities appropriate for that specific module that a tutor can use with learners in a blended learning program. It will contain a description and guidance for these activities and any associated resources or website links.

Parts of the Support Guide will also be translated into Arabic and Pashtun. In this way, the majority of migrants from Syria and Afghanistan will be able to receive first-hand information. This is particularly important because their culture places a high emphasis on family care and because access to information is limited mainly due to no or very low command of the host country’s language.

The Guide will be produced in English and in country-specific versions in the following languages: German, Croatian, Italian, Slovenian, Greek, Slovakian, Portuguese. Parts of the Support Guide will also be translated into Arabic and Pashtun. The volume will consist of approx. 100 pages and will be available as of summer 2020.

The Family Caregiver Resource Pack

The Resource Pack will have a modular structure and consist of two parts:

  • Part 1: Caring for YOU
  • Part 2: Caring for the Individual

Caring for YOU
As families struggle to care for others, their own health is put in danger. As a result, caregiver health requires more focused attention. The Resource Pack will respond to this issue and will contain information and exercises to alleviate and reduce the risks of mental health consequences that caregivers are exposed to.

  • How to increase the level of self-care
  • How to engage in preventive health behaviour
  • The effect of caring on your eating and exercise habits and how to maintain proper nutrition
  • How to deal with frustration
  • How to deal with stress
  • Depressive and anxiety symptoms
  • How to establish self-help groups

Caring for the Individual
In this section, the Resource Pack will contain comprehensive family-friendly practical information on caregiving issues and health conditions about mental disorders, such as:

  • Dementia
  • Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Substance related disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Conduct disorders in children

These conditions are chronic and severe and most disturbing mental disorders for family structure, members and they necessitate strivings and efforts from the whole family to handle these conditions.

The following paragraph will explain, on the example of dementia, which aspects will be treated:

  • Communicating with a person with dementia
  • Handling troubling behaviour
  • Wandering
  • Agitation
  • Repetitive speech or actions
  • Paranoia
  • Sleeplessness

The Family Caregiver Support e-Platform

The e-Platform will support the delivery of all materials of the project and will also support online interactive tools such as forums, blogs, and social networking applications. It be linked with real-time translation systems and thus break down the language barrier between users from different countries.

The e-Learning service will be based on the existing Learning Management System Open eClass, which will be adapted and customized to meet the specific needs of the project. The e-Platform will transform and incorporate the contents of the Support Guide and of the Resource Pack and make them searchable after various criteria and categories, in order to allow users a direct access to needed contents. The e-Platform will also contain the following features:

  • documents
  • forum(s)
  • working groups
  • multimedia contents
  • teleconference

The Family Caregiver Support Mobile Applications

The Mobile Application will host the contents from the Family Caregivers Support Guide and Resource Pack that are suitable for presentation in applications for smartphones, plus links to the platform’s multilingual forum. Communication tools will be selected in a pedagogically sound way and will be developed into integrated native apps for delivering these contents via smartphones and mobile devices. This way, we support mobility: family caregivers will have access to their contents wherever and whenever they need.

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