Patients disclose important information to their attending physician or health care professionals because of this patient-physician confidentiality. This information should not be divulged as much as possible so that the patients would continue trusting their attending physician. With this confidentiality, carers are hindered to get the needed information about their patients. The article, “Impact of Patient Confidentiality on Carers on People Who Have a Mental Disorder,” authored by Dianne Wynaden and Angelica Orb, is about the effect of absolute confidentiality of patients’ pertinent health information.
With the help of 27 carers, the authors were able to justify the not-so-good effects of health care professionals not sharing the health information of patients with mental disorder to their carers. Summary Sharing information is necessary. Health care professionals value the legality of patient-physician confidentiality agreement. However, carers need information about their patients in order to help carers attend to the needs of the patients. Health care professionals and carers must work together in order to assist or guide their patients.
Regarding legality, the authors suggested to have the patient-physician confidentiality agreement reviewed in order to include the rights of carers to know the pertinent health information of their patients. Generally, carers find it difficult to ask assistance from health care professionals. Carers are not usually health care professionals. Carers are anyone interested or willing to provide assistance to patients. They can be family members, friends, or neighbors. For this reason, health care professionals must be willing to share information to carers.
Analysis Psychosis is one mental disorder. It affects the way an affected person’s perception, cognition, mood, personality, behavior, and movement. Hallucinations or seeing things or hearing sounds that are not really present characterize hallucinations. (Psychosis 2006) Symptoms of psychosis include disconnected thoughts, difficulty in concentrating, mood swings, and having thoughts of death or suicide. (Psychosis Mental Health Fact Sheet 2001) A person with mental disorder needs special care and attention.
Normally today, these persons are “confined” inside their houses and there are carers attending to their needs. Carers could be their family members, friends, or neighbors. Most likely, carers have little or no background at all in providing medical aid to ill persons. So, health care professionals must guide carers in attending the needs of their patients. One help health care professionals could offer is the pertinent health information of the patients. However, due to the existing patient-physician confidentiality agreement, carers could not get the health information they need to know about their patients.
To substantiate the effect of not sharing vital information to carers, the authors had interviewed 27 carers. The results of the interview were identical making the findings credible. The carer participants have related almost the same stories in terms of acquiring information from health care professionals. They have experienced difficulty in getting information from health care professionals. Carers believe that there are important pieces of information that should be shared to them in order to perform their tasks well.
Because limited bits of information are provided to carers, they could not attend to all the needs of their patients. Worst, their patients’ recovery is at stake because of unshared information. Why is it so hard for health care professionals to share information to carers? Again we go back to patient-physician confidentiality agreement. In legal terms, the parties or persons involved in the confidentiality agreement must abide by it. This means no information must be divulged to anyone, even to carers. No one must breach the agreement, in respect to both parties.
This is the reason health care professionals are hesitant in giving information to carers about their patients. In ethical means, not sharing information to carers could worsen the condition of the patients. Since carers have no complete information about the real condition of their patients, carers could miss some important details that could affect the health of their patients. Applying ethics, we need to stand firm on the agreement. No matter what, the parties involved must respect what they have agreed upon.
Applying ethics also, both the health care professionals and the carers must consider the recovery of their patients. They must help one another. Conclusion Patient-physician confidentiality agreement is both guarded by legal and ethical issues. But one thing is important—how to help the patients with mental disorder? Since carers have difficulty in acquiring information for their patients due to patient-physician confidentiality agreement, patients must be informed of the importance of sharing information to carers.
Health care professionals must work together with carers in order to provide the needs of their patients. The patient-physician confidentiality agreement must be reviewed so that information could also be shared to carers. Patients should be informed that carers could attend best to their needs if they are well-versed of their condition. Also, carers can adapt fast to the patients’ needs when all information are properly accounted for. Patients are important. Sharing information between health care professionals and carers is also important.