Empowering families of people with chronic disease

It is not only important to empower patients, but to support families and other informal carers. Informal carers may carry a large share of care provision. Supporting their role, training and protecting their well being has positive outcomes for the health of carers and the people they care for.

Key actions are:

  • Provide official recognition, financial support and social security benefits to informal carers.
  • Involvement of informal carers in decision making processes regarding health policy and services.
  • Provide professional home visits and regular communication between professionals and informal carers, including assessment of health and safety conditions and technical aids.
  • Use the informal carers’ experience of the cared for individual in the training of professional carers.
  • Provide mental health protection measures for informal carers, such as possibilities for flexible and part time work, peer support, self help, as well as training and tools to evaluate carers’ own mental health needs.

Families can also be empowered by being invited by healhcare providers to participate in meetings between the patient and the heathcare provider. Families can also be empowered by setting up family networks in local communities, where family members have the opportunity to share knowledge, experiences and worries with other family members, in terms of psychosocial support and training.

With thanks to ENOPE (Patient Empowerment. Living with Chronic Disease)

“Part of a series of short discussion topics on different aspects of self-management and patient empowerment written by ENOPE members for the 1st European conference on patient empowerment (ENOPE)”