Constructing life stories of persons living with dementia: Fostering staff-family collaboration in residential aged care
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The Family Biography Workshop (FBW) is a process through which staff, family members and friends of the person with dementia living in a residential facility develop stories of their residents' lives. The stories aim to help staff develop a better, more deeply felt understanding of the lives of residents, persons who can no longer tell their own story themselves. This paper describes the process of the FBW and discusses the outcomes of a partnership project between Griffith University, Research Centre for Clinical Practice Innovation and Spiritus Care Services, Brisbane. It suggests ways of using elements of the process to: introduce staff to information and experiences which help them to more richly appreciate the unique person for whom they are providing dementia care; provide a foundation for conversations and ways of relating wherein family take up a position of unique expertise and which acknowledges and balances the expertise held by staff; encourage the building of positive staff-family relationships that will improve care outcomes; and construct life story narratives to supplement the medical diagnosis, nursing care plans, and regulatory rules which dominate the landscape of conversation in long-term dementia care.
Geriaction National Conference 2007 - Caring for the Aged in all Contexts: Models, Myths and Magic