Carers – Being the connection in communication

Guest blog by matthew mckenzie

A blog for carers of mental health – Welcome back to another blog post from a fellow carer.

I would like you to check out the following scenario.

Just imaging this. Here we have a patient who talks to the doctor, the doctor sometimes struggles to understand the patient, then the doctor contacts the mental health consultant, the mental health consultant then contacts the care coordinator, the care coordinator contacts the patient, the patient then contacts an advocate and the advocate contacts the doctor, the doctor contacts the social worker who in turn speaks to the care coordinator who then is too busy to contact the patient who in turn does not contact anyone for a long time sinking futher into relapse.

Whats missing from this scenario?

Who is not being contacted or doing the contacting?

Anyone guess?

Thats it!! It is the carer. Each and everyone in that scenario is important and they all have their roles and responsibilities. However When there is a communication break down, which can often happen, when is it time to contact…….the carer?

Chain in the link

Time and time again, us carers who are looking after someone suffering from mental ill health will look to contact those involved in providing a service for the patient or for our loved ones.

There will be times that every so often carers feel shut out because we may not hear from anyone and yet us carers have to pluck up the courage and start raising issues, us carers have to start asking questions, because if we do not care then the ultimate question is who will care?

I am not stating that there is no reason for carers not to be contacted, there are plenty of good reasons and one being patient confidentiality. This goes to say that someone suffering mental ill health may not wish their family or carer to know what they are going through or suffering from. Some reasons are mental health stigma, other reasons are the fear of relationship break down and one of the most important is patient rights.

We all know there must be a balance to protect the patient, but this also does not mean that confidentiality can be used as an excuse, which it can sometimes be used as an excuse. I am no expert in patient rights or confidentiality, I can only speak as a carer of 11 years. Yet I have seen excuse after excuse as to why I have not been contacted if whoever I am looked after is suffering physical or mental health health difficulties, although at times I can see why information was not devulged to myself.

Us carers walk the fine line between fear, guilt and being isolated or pushed aside. We do not want our loved ones to experience any more pain, but we sit there at times silently waiting and guessing when to act. Us carers wonder when to ask more questions or when to raise concerns. Carers are that vital chain in the link, especially if we are caring for those who struggle to look after themselves.