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Involving family, whanau and partners in the care of people with mental illness can significantly improve their recovery. Sometimes families and partners have access to sensitive information about the person who is unwell and must respect their rights to privacy. DHB staff must also respect the patient’s desire and rights to privacy.

However, family/whanau have legal and other rights to information and support, including:

  • the right to give any information they consider important to health professionals
  • the right to be listened to and to be taken seriously when expressing concerns about a person’s behaviour.
  • the right to receive information about a person they are carers for, including the diagnosis, treatment and possible side effects of treatment.

If specifics about a patient's conditon or treatment cannot be shared, the DHB can provide general information about mental illness, mental health services and medication.

Families and whanau also have the right to be consulted about discharge plans.

Discharge plans should be developed with families and carers. It is legally required for information about discharge from compulsory treatment to be given to primary caregivers.