Principles of a dementia carer friendly workplace

New strength and resilience for dementia carers in an aware and supportive workplace

1. Awareness and Understanding
2. Inclusion
3. Support
4. Ethics
5. Sharing

Register your organisation with us. Be seen to be aligning to the Principles of a Dementia Carer Friendly Workplace. We can help you tailor the right approach for your organisation, advertise your participation and provide a certificate once you have started.

The guidance below shows components we know are important for effective delivery, together with some benefits and outcomes you should expect to see. They are suggestions for you to consider.

This is not a tick box exercise, but a practical approach which works best for dementia carers. Benefits will relate to the level of engagement. You are free to decide the timetable and details of your alignment to the Principles. The most important thing is to Get Started.

1. Awareness and Understanding

  • Of dementia – becoming Dementia Friends
  • Support your own Dementia Friends Champion(s)
  • Appoint your Dementia Carer Friendly Workplace Ambassador(s) and include the role in their objectives/ responsibilities/ work time
  • Visible company approach and policies
  • Incorporated into Management/Induction training
  • Responsibilities – of workplace and carer
  • Knowledge – for self
  • Signposting to information/support/organisations
  • Everyone’s experience is different
    • Non-judgemental
  •  Recognition
    • Of extent of impact on the carer.
    • That it is progressive – no improvement.
    • That dementia is a terminal disease.
    • Long duration of disease means long-term way of life for carers,
    • Of how carer pressures can have an impact at work.

A common situation; Informative Reducing taboos and stigma of dementia; Of impact on dementia carers and what they are coping with.

2. Inclusion

  • Who we are supporting
    • Encourage open access, not prescriptive – e.g. from former carers, current carers, colleagues from other organisations on site. Dementia need not be diagnosed. Anyone who feels they may benefit.
  • How we are supporting them
    • Dementia Carer Network Group
    • Carer buddies
    • Flexible, supportive workplace
    • Do some individuals need a different approach – like drop-in sessions?
    • Informal and person (carer)-centred
    • Consistent line management
  • Specific needs addressed as appropriate, generic carer issues for the benefit of all carers. Do policies need updating?
    • Flexibility– proactive investigation of solutions
    • Carer passport
    • Power of Attorney
    • Emergency leave

3. Support

  • Leadership buy-in – openly supports and engages
  • Dementia Carer Network Group
  • Carer Buddies – priority given to providing support when needed (similar to a Harassment Officer)
  • Where possible in work time
  • Open/Approachable, no stigma, repercussions or blame. Safe to seek help
  • Flexibility where possible when/if requested
  • Consistent line management
  • Signposting help
    • Internal web page
    • Ambassador/Champion as focal point

Knowing others in similar situation; Friendly; Confidence; Welcoming; Convenient time and location n; Work supported means guilt free and helps wellbeing; Realness of face-to-face interaction provides empathy and sharing experience; personal resilience.

4. Ethics

  • Confidentiality at all points of contact
    • Safe to share
    • Safe to be emotional
    • Safe to show vulnerability.
  •  Permission
    • To attend sessions, seek help or provide support in work time.
  •  Responsibility
    • Of the employer/colleagues to provide support, communicate what is available and enable carers to access it.
    • Rests with the individual to engage
    • A dementia carer working from home to be honest about when they are not available. Managers not to have unfair expectations which are not applied to others.
  • Respect
    For carers – what they are coping with on top of work commitments; that they may be overloaded or stressed; that their experiences may be too raw to share or engage
    For privacy/anonymity unless permission given to identify them.
  •  Empowerment
    • Employer responsibility to offer support and make it accessible (Duty of Care in the workplace – corporate social responsibility)
    • Carer responsibility to access the support.
  • Compliance with Equality Act 2010 – carer in association with the person who has the disability (dementia) – with respect to flexibility, discrimination or harassment.
  • Working towards the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge for 2020 which calls for a better work/carer/life balance and support for dementia carers.

5. Sharing

  • Utilising professional leadership and expertise
  • Good practice, reviews and Lessons Learned with others through 4 Dementia Carers
  • Feedback from all colleagues
  • Knowledge and insight;
  • Becoming an exemplar/leader to other organisations