Families, partners and friends often feel anxious and psychiatrists are usually busy - this can mean that you do not always know who to ask about your relative/friend's illness. It is a good idea to have a list of the things you want to know ready before you have a meeting with any of the team involved in your relative's care. This checklist is designed to help you get the information you need concerning the diagnosis, treatment and care plan of your relative/friend.

These questions have been included as a framework for you to use: you may not find them all helpful and there may be others that are not included. This assumes that your relative/friend is happy for the member of the team to discuss these issues with you. However, if your relative/friend is unwilling for information to be shared there will be a problem with confidentiality. It is probably best to work through this issue prior to any meetings so that you are aware of where you stand. It may be helpful to have a confidentiality agreement or an advance ‘plan of action’ set up whilst your relative/friend is agreeable and cooperative so that you can deal more effectively with confidentiality issues and emergencies when they are unwell.

Here are the questions to ask!

For more information on the issue of confidentiality, there is an excellent guide from the Partners in Care campaign accessible from the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s website: