Thousands of clients attend our counselling sessions every year. Below, we show you a real and typical example of our counselling work. This example has been anonymised with the agreement of the clients involved.
Child care and home help urgently required
A mother, a father and a ten month-old baby. The parents, Stefan and Lisa B., work in the same company. While still on maternity leave, Lisa B. suddenly fell seriously ill and was put into an artificial coma. A truly awful situation for the young family with a huge burden on their emotions and organisational needs. The recovery of Lisa B. was uncertain, so the family quickly sought child care and a home help for daily assistance. A nursery place near to their home would also soon be required.
In this situation, Stefan B.’s boss at work assumed responsibility and contacted the Fürstenberg Institut. She acted as a go-between for Stefan B. and the institute.
Sarah Gabriel, a counsellor at the Fürstenberg Institut, immediately started looking. She contacted Lisa B.’s health insurance company to ask what the possibilities and conditions were for covering child care and home support. In Lisa B.’s case, the health insurance company recognised that her illness meant she could not look after her child and covered the costs for alternative care for up to eight hours per day as well as for a home help. Ms Gabriel arranged for the various application forms to be sent to the family and, at the same time, contacted the Fürstenberg Institut’s cooperation partner to request the necessary child care and home help. As a result, both services were immediately provided to the family. Ms Gabriel kept Stefan B.’s boss regularly informed of the steps she was taking and ensured that the family had all the assistance it needed in a short space of time.
The search for a nursery place was also successful. It didn’t take Ms Gabriel long to find a local nursery with places still available for the child to be accepted immediately. The interim solution with the institute’s cooperation partner was therefore no longer required. Stefan B. was very happy with the support he received in this very difficult situation and so was his boss – both of them had a lot of work taken off their shoulders.
Friedrich S. feels increasingly overburdened by his wife’s illness – the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease – and doesn’t have any time for himself any more.
Friedrich and Margarete S. have been married for 34 years and have always complemented each other so well as a couple. However, their relationship changed greatly after the onset of Mrs Sommer’s illness. The atmosphere between them grew tense and often led to conflict. Mrs S. can no longer do things like switch on the washing machine by herself, which means her husband is left with more and more of the household chores.
In his first conversation with the Fürstenberg Institut, he explains his care work to the counsellor. Together, they discuss what kind of help could be available to ease the burden on Mr Sommer. As Mrs Sommer still doesn’t receive any care insurance benefits, the counsellor recommends immediately applying to the care insurance fund and gives the client some tips on how he and his wife can prepare for the assessment.
In addition, Mr S. would like to reduce his working hours. The counsellor provides him with an overview of the possible working-time models based on the Home Care Leave Act. On his behalf, she then researches nearby assistance services (e.g. day care, care workers, voluntary visiting services, home helps, out-patient care services) and tells him about the possibility of a joint rehabilitation with his wife.
Although Margarete S. has no physical disabilities, she is in need of help and assistance in her daily life. This means she is entitled to a disabled person’s pass, which would bring her tax reductions and relieve her of the obligation to pay TV and radio licence fees. For this purpose, Mr S. needs to contact the local disabilities office.
As a family caregiver, Friedrich S. is in danger of becoming ill himself and needs to manage his energies well to ensure that this does not happen. The counsellor points this out to him and advises him to try some relaxation methods and to attend a family support group. In addition, she explains to him that certain clinics offer special services to the family members of people with Alzheimer’s. Together, they discuss what you need to be aware of when submitting this kind of application to the health insurance company.
Building up a knowledge of the background and physiological processes involved in dementia is extremely useful when caring for and looking after someone suffering from the disease. This helps to understand the affected person’s changed behaviour and makes it easier to react appropriately. The counsellor explains the basics of all this before giving the client some helpful sources of further information.