The Triangle of CareThe Triangle of Care describes a therapeutic relationship between the person with dementia (patient), staff member and carer that promotes safety, supports communication and sustains wellbeing.
Although the Triangle of Care was originally developed for use in mental health services, the standards outlined below have been found applicable in other care settings.
These standards can be used to support a partnership approach to dementia care, particularly in hospital settings. The Triangle of Care for Dementia describes how meaningful involvement and inclusion of carers can lead to better care for people with dementia. In an ideal situation the needs of the carer and the person with dementia are both met. Inclusion of people with dementia and support in making decisions is therefore fundamental to its success. This will then complete the triangle.
The RCN’s project Dignity in Dementia; Transforming General Hospital Care (2011) highlighted that involving family carers was highly instrumental in supporting improvements in care and was seen as a high priority by people with dementia, carers and practitioners. Including and supporting carers of people with dementia will lead to better outcomes for patients, carers and ultimately the professionals supporting them (RCN, 2013).
While developed with dementia in mind the standards are applicable for anyone caring for or living with someone with a long-term health condition.
The key standards to achieving a Triangle of CareThese six standards are required to achieve better collaboration and partnership with carers.
The six key standards state that:
1) Carers and the essential role they play are identified at first contact or as soon as possible thereafter.
2) Staff are ‘carer aware’ and trained in carer engagement strategies.
3) Policy and practice protocols regarding confidentiality and sharing information, are in place.
4) Defined post(s) responsible for carers are in place.
5) A carer introduction to the service and staff is available, with a relevant range of information across the care pathway.
6) A range of carer support services is available.
For more information, see: The Triangle of Care. Carers included: a guide to best practice for dementia care.