With your family member’s written permission, you can communicate with specialists or be a part of meetings.
You have important information about what typically helps and inspires your family member. You also are familiar with the best ways to communicate with your family member. You have much to offer as someone who knows your family member well over a long period of time.
It is a decision made between you and your family member as to when and how you could be involved. If your family member is increasing in confidence and independence, ask if they wish to reduce the type or amount of support that you are providing. You can decide together how and when to make the changes. For example, if you have been making calls to the vocational provider, is it time for your family member to take over phone calls? If you have been driving your family member to the subway, is it time for them to start walking or carpooling?
Dixon studied the most effective models of providers and families working together. The 15 most important principles of partnership were identified. The fourth of these principles is: “Listen to families’ concerns and involve them as equal partners in the planning and delivery of treatment”. This can apply to vocational service providers as well as treatment providers.
What can I do if my family member does not give permission for me to have two way communication with a provider?
If you do not have permission to talk with the employment providers or be part of meetings, you can continue to provide the emotional or practical support if your family members wishes.
Should there be something really important for the treatment or rehabilitation provider to know, you can leave them a (one-way) message with that information without a violation of confidentiality.
Some programs have special events that family members may attend and these are a good chance to interact with staff and also lend support to your family member’s efforts. The important thing is to keep all interactions positive and focus on strengths.
Be aware of the core principles and ethics of psychiatric rehabilitation practitioners including Employment Specialists as defined by the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Assocciation. (PRA) These are the values and practices that family members should come to expect. (Expect more – get more!)
One of the ways that family members and their loved ones can attain respect from those who provide services, is to be educated. They should be informed on mental illness, employment services, evidence based practices, and best practices that have been known to be helpful.
Recent research at the Veterans Administration found that including family members and persons in recovery in joint training promoted successful outcomes. Providers who experience the success of their job seekers – due in part to the understanding and support of families – can easily increase respect.