‘Involving Families in Healthcare – Danish and Spanish perspectives’ project

With the figures in England and Wales showing that there are around six million carers (White, 2013), which equates to approximately one in ten of the UK population being in an unpaid carer supporting a friend or family member (ONS, 2011) and given that we know these figures are forever growing, Dr Julie Wray’s ‘Involving Families in Healthcare – Danish and Spanish perspectives’ project was timely and particularly relevant to nursing practice. 

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Dr Mary Braine & Dr Julie Wray

In 2015 Julie embarked on undertaking the project entitled and was thrilled to be shortlisted, interviewed and successful within the prestigious Florence Nightingale Foundation. This was an opportunity to gain understandings and experiences from other countries on how to best support family carer givers, a topic, which is likely to affect most people in the UK at some point in their life.

As well as achieving her projects goals during the scholarship, others aspects connected to the ethos of the project occurred: One, being the depth of learning, knowledge and findings attained from this travel scholarship now featured strongly in the authored book Braine and Wray (2016), for which Professor Elizabeth Robb was invited to write the foreword. This book, a first from a nursing perspective is seeking to align theory to practice and is becoming a core text for nurses. During her wonderful study tour, Julie was inspired by how in both Denmark and Spain family centeredness was embedded into every aspect of healthcare provision and notably in promoting self-care. Individual family carers, support groups and patients affirmed this ethos from their own experiences. Despite what could be regarded as pragmatic visitation strategies in hospitals, people understood, respected and complied with the expectations. Julie found this mutuality towards visitation, in particular, to be refreshing and believes the UK could learn a great deal about visitation processes that serve to respect place and space for all those involved.

A full copy of the report summary can be found here:  http://florence-nightingale-foundation.org.uk/content/page/667/

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