Communicate with Providers
Adequate communication between treatment provider and patient and between treatment provider and a patient’s family and/or support network is sorely lacking in our behavioral health care system. Often, providers at all levels of care hide behind a blanket of “confidentiality” as their excuse to avoid permissible conversations and coordinated treatment planning that advance recuperation and keep people safe.
NAMI Oregon partnered with several organizations to produce “checklists” that aid in permissible communication with all providers and a specialized checklist for use if your loved one is being treated in hospital inpatient psychiatric care.
Inpatient Discharge Planning
Under legislation passed in 2015, all hospitals in Oregon that offer inpatient psychiatric care are required to adopt and follow specific policies and procedures around discharge planning and communication with support networks before someone is discharged from inpatient treatment.
Hospital stays for mental health treatment are generally short and can be stressful for patient and family alike. The checklist developed by the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems in partnership with NAMI Oregon is an excellent planning tool that families and patients can use as they work toward discharge. Under Oregon law, the elements in this checklist are all required factors to be considered during the treatment and discharge planning process.
Communication With Other Providers
Communication between care providers and family members of patients seeking treatment for mental illness improves the quality of care and reduces the risk of suicide for these patients. While confidentiality is a fundamental component of a therapeutic relationship, misunderstandings by clinicians about the limitations created by HIPAA, FERPA, and state laws for preserving confidentiality has caused unnecessary concern regarding disclosure of relevant clinical information.
To address this deficit of communication, the Oregon Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and NAMI Oregon partnered to published a checklist for mental health providers. The authors, Dr. Stewart Newman and Jerry Gabay (NAMI Oregon Board Member), have created a companion checklist to help families seek information from providers.