Knowing that your relative is being supported in the right way for them is important to families, who will do what they can to ensure that their family member is happy. But when these intentions are misunderstood it can become challenging for everyone involved. Here, Nina talks about the power of communication, understanding different people and what difference it has made to her and her family.
We have had both positive and negative experiences as a family, particularly when people have made wrong assumptions about our family and its intentions. We are very close and are dedicated to providing support and care to Sanjeev on a daily basis. For a while, we were considered unique and different as we are involved in Sanjeev’s support 7 days a week all year round and people didn’t fully understand or appreciate that our lives and Sanjeev’s life evolved around each other. Our family beliefs and culture were not understood, as the Western culture is very different. Our love and affection was misunderstood which led to a negative perception of our family and the support we were giving.
This experience made us question whether we had made a mistake in seeking ‘care in the community’ as, having made the decision we then felt we had no choice or control over who was providing support to Sanjeev. It felt very much like a ‘them and us’ situation and we felt very responsible for making what seemed like the wrong choice. Sanjeev could feel the negative atmosphere and it was not good or healthy for anybody involved. There was no trust and it was a very uncomfortable period.
This needed to change and I made it my mission to get to a better place with everyone and remained persistent in my expectations of the care provided to Sanjeev. Meeting a new Service Manager, things started to change. They understood me and our family, and relayed a positive message back to the team. Shortly after, a new Manager and Deputy Manager at the house helped to continue to turn the negative situation into a positive one. It opened better communication between staff and our family and we built trust and understanding on both sides. We began working as a team and it really showed how communication plays such an important role in working together.
Now, Sanjeev feels that he is at home and is in a safe place with people he can trust to help him to stay well. I am now understood – people understand why I do things. I am valued and respected for my commitment to Sanjeev’s care. Good relationships with families are so important – you feel like their voice and nobody knows them better than you, so you are going to make sure their goals are being met and they are getting what they want in their life.