5 December 2018
The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland
has today released a new good practice guide to help carers,
families, and practitioners understand consent, confidentiality,
and sharing of information for people with mental illness,
dementia, learning disability, or other related conditions.
The publication provides advice to doctors and nurses on how to
respect patient confidentiality while also involving families and
carers in treatment.
The document also provides guidance on issues relating to
capacity to make decisions around confidentiality, sharing
information with carers that does not breach confidentiality, and
the limited exceptional circumstances where breaking
confidentiality may be necessary.
The guide is available
on the Commission's website here.
Kate Fearnley, Executive Director (Engagement &
Participation) at the Commission, said: "We hope that our new
guidance on carers and confidentiality will be helpful, both to
families who want to do what they can to help, and to
practitioners, who can sometimes find themselves in difficult
situations around what information they can share.
"Whether or not an individual is happy for some information to
be shared, families and carers have a hugely important role to
play. They can provide invaluable insight about their loved ones,
shedding more light on their history and background. Nurses,
doctors, and social workers should involve carers and relatives as
much as possible, and listen to them.
"Practitioners should always discuss with patients whether there
is specific information that can be shared. Even when someone
doesn't want personal information shared with their carer,
practitioners can still provide general information about a
diagnosis or condition without breaching confidentiality.
"Best practice involves a dialogue between all parties involved
in a person's care, and confidentiality doesn't have to be a
barrier to that."
The Commission produces good practice guides across a wide range
of mental health topics. Among these is Rights in Mind, a guide
to patient rights throughout all stages of mental health treatment.
The full range is available on the Commission's
Notes to Editors:
In this guide we use the term 'carer' to mean family and friends
who provide unpaid support to a relative, partner or friend. We use
the term 'individual' to mean someone who has a mental illness,
dementia, learning disability, autism, personality disorder, or a
related condition. We also use the term 'relative' to include
partner and friend.
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