From 2015 to 2016, The Charity for Civil Servants engaged in face-to-face consultation sessions with its employees and members across the UK who were caring for individuals affected by dementia. The objective of this was to identify the challenges the caregivers faced and to develop services that could address their unique needs.
The charity, which employs 150 members of staff and covers around 510,000 civil servants, found that several key issues emerged from these sessions, including a lack of information and awareness, limited access to support, and the absence of specialised assistance for those with no prior experience in caring for individuals with dementia.
It collaborated with charity Dementia UK to conduct an employment-based pilot programme to offer resources and support, including bookable one-on-one appointments with specialist Admiral nurses, for its employees with family caregiving responsibilities.
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The aim was to create a scalable, accessible service, explains Linda Eades, head of caring, health and wellbeing services at The Charity for Civil Servants.
“We focused on specialised Admiral nurse-led advice, information, and support for employees affected by dementia and their families,” she says. “We were initially planning to test three different delivery approaches, including face-to-face workplace sessions, but then faced an unexpected challenge with the Covid-19 pandemic.”
As a result, the charity adapted its plan, developing a microsite and a bespoke chatbot accessible via the microsite, while also establishing monthly virtual, work-based sessions and the bookable one-on-one virtual appointments with Admiral nurses that it originally planned to offer.
A total of 43 work-based live sessions were commissioned by the charity, with recordings of some these sessions made available for those who were unable to attend.
Following a positive preliminary review in February and March 2021, the project was extended to include more detailed and focused sessions and an updated and improved microsite. It has cultivated an ongoing, supportive partnership between the charity and Dementia UK.
“The collaborative efforts have been highly beneficial to our members and employees, as evidenced by positive feedback received through session evaluation reports,” says Eades. “The project has not only expanded support for [those] affected by dementia but also demonstrated the power of collaboration and an ongoing commitment to work together.”