Posted by: carolg1849 | March 30, 2009

Carers and Confidentiality

excerpt from Leaflet Princess Royal Carers Trust

confidentialityWhy is it important that appropriate information is shared with carers? 

The sharing of information may be difficult, but is often crucial to the ongoing wellbeing of both patients and carers. If carers are excluded from important discussions and decisions involving the patient, this can have serious practical, financial and personal consequences for both the carer and the patient. Not being involved increases feelings of isolation, grief and loss which are common to many carers. 

“Her GP will not discuss her condition with me and I feel isolated from the situation, despite being her full-time carer.” 

·       The carer is often the one who knows the patient best. They may have regular, even daily, contact over many years, often with on-going  responsibility for all aspects of the patient’s welfare. 

·       The carer is often the only constant support in a patient’s life, as friends  lose touch and professionals move away. Many patients experience regular and sudden changes in the professional team caring for them. 

·       This can make the building of trusting relationships difficult, and important information about the patient may be lost if the carer is not included in regular discussions. 

·       The changing nature of mental illness can cause sudden crises, often out of hours, to which the carer may have to respond. This can be very stressful as immediate and appropriate professional support is not always available. However, if the carer has knowledge and understanding of the crisis plan, they can often persuade the patient to follow it, for example by agreeing to contact their key worker or by taking the recommended medication. 

·       The wellbeing of the carer can be greatly improved if they are encouraged to feel part of a supportive team, with ready access to up-to-date information. Without this, the carer may feel unable to continue giving the practical and emotional support that is so important to the patient.


There is much more to this article, you can download the whole leaflet from



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