Wednesday 12 February 2014


Useful advice from NICE about supporting carers of people with schizophrenia - see the story here. Actually this should of course apply to all carers of people with a serious mental illness.

The new guidance sets out key practice for mental health services to:-

• Offer carers of people with psychosis or schizophrenia an assessment (provided by mental health services) of their own needs and discuss with them their strengths and views. Develop a care plan to address any identified needs, give a copy to the carer and their GP and ensure it is reviewed annually.

• Advise carers about their statutory right to a formal carer's assessment provided by social care services and explain how to access this.

• Give carers written and verbal information in an accessible format about: diagnosis and management of psychosis and schizophrenia; positive outcomes and recovery; types of support for carers; role of teams and services; getting help in a crisis.

• When providing information, offer the carer support if necessary.

• As early as possible negotiate with service users and carers about how information about the service user will be shared. When discussing rights to confidentiality, emphasise the importance of sharing information about risks and the need for carers to understand the service user's perspective. Foster a collaborative approach that supports both service users and carers, and respects their individual needs and interdependence.

• Review regularly how information is shared, especially if there are communication and collaboration difficulties between the service user and carer.

• Include carers in decision-making if the service user agrees.

• Offer a carer-focused education and support programme, which may be part of a family intervention for psychosis and schizophrenia, as early as possible to all carers. The intervention should: be available as needed; have a positive message about recovery.

Pretty obvious stuff, most of it, but valuable in itemising some basics when carers are in practice often ignored.

I would also commend to carers that they remind themselves frequently about Hafal's Ten Point Plan - sound advice because created by fellow carers!