13.9 Advice and support for patients and their families
The advice and support that you give to patients and families can be a tremendous help. It can comfort the patient and can reduce the anxiety felt by family members and carers. It also gives carers an insight into your professional knowledge about how best to handle disturbed patients in a humane and caring manner. Such knowledge is perhaps the most effective way of counteracting negative traditional approaches to mental illness.
When assessing someone with a psychotic illness and deciding on a treatment plan, it is important to include the patient and their family, and to emphasise the importance of adhering to the medication. If the illness is one where the possibility of relapse is high, work with the patient and family members so they know how to identify early warning signs.
In terms of rehabilitation, patients should be encouraged – as much as possible – to return to their normal work and other daily activities. Family and carers should reduce sources of stress for the patient by being supportive, and by avoiding verbal criticism or confrontation, which may aggravate the psychosis.