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A checklist for carers – Information Leaflet

Questions that you might find helpful to ask NHS staff when supporting the person you care for.

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A checklist for carers - Information Leaflet (2Mb)

  • Questions to ask the psychiatrist

    Carers need information and psychiatrists are busy. Carers may not always find out what they need to know about the person they are caring for. This checklist is designed to help you get all the information you need about the diagnosis and treatment of the person you care for.

    You may be able to get some of this information from other members of the clinical team involved, or from written information that they can provide.

    If the person gives you permission, the psychiatrist will be able to give you information about their condition and care.

    Although you may not want to ask all the questions listed, you may find that they help you in preparing to meet the psychiatrist and the mental health team. Not everyone will need all the answers to all these questions at the same time. You may have questions that are not covered in this leaflet. Even so, it should provide a helpful framework for deciding what you do need to know.

  • About the illness

    • What is the diagnosis or problem?
    • If a diagnosis has not yet been made, what are the possibilities?
    • Why has this happened to them?
    • Will they recover?

  • If a diagnosis has been made

    • What symptoms suggest this diagnosis/illness?
    • What is known about the causes of this disorder/illness?
    • What is likely to happen in the future? Will it get better or worse?
    • Where can I get written information about this disorder?

  • About the assessment

    • What assessments have already been done?
    • Are there any other assessments that might be needed?
    • Are there any physical problems that have been discovered? If so, what will need to be done?
    • Have culture and background been considered?

  • Care Programme Approach (CPA)

    • What is CPA?
    • What does CPA mean?
    • Is the person on CPA? If not, why not?
    • Will I be involved in the CPA?

  • About care and treatment

    • What are the aims of the care and treatment?
    • What is a care co-ordinator?
    • What part will the care co-ordinator play in the person’s care?
    • Who else will be involved in the treatment?
    • What is your plan for treatment?
    • For how long will they need treatment?
    • Would talking treatments (e.g. cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy) be helpful? If so, are they available locally?
    • What happens if they refuse treatment?

  • Sharing of information

    • Have you asked them about how much information they are happy to share with me?
    • Will I be informed about important meetings concerning their care and treatment?
    • Can I see you on my own?
    • Would you like to ask me for any other information about them or the family?
    • Can I tell you things that will not be shared with the person or other members of staff?
    • Are their views on confidentiality clearly marked in their notes?

  • Care and treatment

    • What can I do to help?
    • Are there any local self-help or carers’ groups that can help me understand the illness?
    • How can I get advice and training in the day-to-day management of the illness?
    • Are there any local groups that can provide support?

  • Getting help

    • How can I get in touch with you?
    • How do I arrange to see you?
    • Who do I contact if I’m worried about their behaviour?
    • What do I do if I’m worried that they are becoming ill again?
    • Who do I contact in an emergency? What help might be available?
    • How can I get a second opinion?

  • Carers

    • What is the difference between a carer, a nearest relative and a nominated person?
    • I understand that, as a carer, I am entitled to an assessment and care plan of my own. Who should I speak to?
    • If I have specific needs of my own, who should I ask?
    • If I need help, to whom should I turn?

  • Medication

    • What medication is to be used, and how?
    • Is the lowest effective dose being prescribed?
    • Can a low dose be taken at first and increased if necessary?
    • How often will the medication be reviewed?
    • Will I be involved in future discussions about the dose or type of medication?

  • What should the benefits of this medication be?

    • In the short-term
    • In the long-term

  • What are the possible side-effects of this medication?

    • In the short-term
    • In the long-term

  • Managing the medication

    • Why have you chosen this particular medication?
    • How long will the medication have to be taken for?
    • Are there any other medications that could be used if this one does not work?
    • What symptoms might mean that the dose should be changed?
    • What should I do if they experience unpleasant side-effects?
    • What will happen if they stop taking the medication?
    • Do you have any written information about the medication to give me?

  • Hospital treatment

    • Do they need to be admitted to hospital? If so, for how long?
    • If they have to go into hospital, which one will it be?
    • Will they be on a locked ward?
    • If they get short-term leave from hospital, when and how will I be informed?
    • How often will I be able to see them?

  • Discharge from hospital

    • What arrangements will be made for their care and monitoring after discharge from hospital?
    • If I am not able to look after the person when they are discharged, what will happen?
    • Am I expected to help with anything, especially medication?
    • Do you know of any self-help techniques that will help their recovery?

  • If not admitted to hospital

    • Do they need to be admitted to hospital?
    • Are there any alternatives to hospital admission?

  • Any other questions

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  • What if I have a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint about the service?

    If you want to make a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint you can:
    • talk to the people directly involved in your care
    • ask a member of staff for a feedback form, or complete a form on the Trust website www.cntw.nhs.uk (click on the ‘Contact Us’ tab)
    • telephone the Complaints Department 0191 245 6672
    • email complaints@cntw.nhs.uk Please note that information sent to the Trust via email is sent at your own risk
    • We are always looking at ways to improve services. Your feedback allows us to monitor the quality of our services and act upon issues that you bring to our attention.
    You can provide feedback in the following ways:
    - the quickest way for you to do this is to complete our short online survey at
    www.cntw.nhs.uk/poy
    - complete a Points of You survey, available from staff.

  • Useful resources

    The following booklets are available from staff.

    • Working together to support the person you care for
    • Carers' Charter
    • Commonsense Confidentiality
    • Getting to know you
    • Useful contacts for carers
    • Mummy is poorly
    • Resources for carers - additional information resources

    These booklets and other useful publications are also available to view/download at www.cntw.nhs.uk Click on ‘Resources Search’ and type in the title of the leaflet.

  • Get involved

    Sign up to become a Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust member

    Online: www.cntw.nhs.uk/membership
    Tel: 0191 245 68270191 245 6827
    Write to: FREEPOST CNTW MEMBERSHIP

    Membership is completely free and as a member you can:
    • give your views on the Trust’s plans and any issues that interest you
    • vote in the Governor Elections or stand as a Governor
    • receive regular information about the Trust

  • Triangle of Care

    Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded a Triangle of Care Gold Star Award. The award recognises the Trusts commitment to ensuring all staff adopt good practice when working with carers and families.

  • Information about content, other formats and version control

    Further information about the content, reference sources or production of this booklet can be obtained from the Patient Information Centre. If you would like to tell us what you think about this leaflet please get in touch.

    This information can be made available in a range of formats on request (eg Braille, audio, larger print, BSL, easy read or other languages). Please contact the Patient Information Centre Tel: 0191 246 7288

    Published by the Patient Information Centre
    2021 Copyright, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
    Ref, PIC/382/0921 September 2021 V8
    www.cntw.nhs.uk Tel: 0191 246 7288
    Review date 2024