Family meetings make sure that everybody is aware of issues and concerns that need to be dealt with, that things are openly discussed and decisions made collectively.
You might use a meeting to:
Decide who should attend
Think about who needs to be included - perhaps the person you are caring for; close family members and friends, health professionals and support workers who can explain current and future care needs.
Choose a time and place to suit most people
If things are likely to get heated, it might be best to choose a place that is neutral - perhaps a room at a community health centre, a friend’s house or another quiet venue.
Give people a reason for the meeting
Allow everybody to prepare for the discussion and any decisions that need to be made.
Decide what you want to achieve
Don’t aim too high. Remember that discussing complex issues and making decisions can be slow. You may need to plan for more than one meeting.
Once you have brought everyone together, it's important to make the most of your meeting time:
Many families have a history of touchy issues. Family members have established ways of relating to each other and there are often unspoken rules about which emotions are okay to express and what can and can’t be said.
Different views, experiences and values can surface at difficult times and cause conflict. Think about ways of keeping the discussion on track and productive:
Family meetings can be emotional and draining, even when they achieve what you want. Think about lining up someone to talk to afterwards if you need to let off steam.
If your family cannot agree on important issues, a mediator may be able to help you to reach a working compromise.
A good mediator is objective – not favouring one viewpoint over another – and able to defuse conflict.
Ideally, your mediator should understand the different options available to you and be able to help your family members understand the consequences of choosing one option over another.
Some services or mediators have eligibility requirements and there may be costs involved. Contact a service directly to find out if they can help you.
Missed our ebulletin #Voice? Catch up all the latest news for #carers here: http://t.co/yB6ZPGLu0d