The authors of the article go on to suggest that though mental health professionals may be restricted in sharing information with families due to a variety of reasons including provincial legislation (some of which enforce fines or penalties for failing to comply with the privacy regulations), physicians still have a duty to support the families of the patients they treat and provide important information regarding their family member's clinical status and treatment, particularly as many of these individuals stay with family following a visit to the ED or a hospital admission.
What do you think about these privacy legislations? Do you think that patients' families have a right to receive information about their loved one's well-being and care, and do physicians have a duty to keep families informed?
"The problem, according to the authors, is that because of the lack of availability of suitable supportive housing and psychiatric hospital beds, most seriously mentally ill people live with their families. Those families wind up taking on both therapeutic and supportive functions for their seriously ill relatives. Given this role and the fact that research has shown that involving families helps to improve treatment outcomes, it would be expected that the mental health system would make efforts to support those families -- but they rarely do."
For the full article, click here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/marvin-ross/mental-health-privacy-legislation-problems_b_8649276.html