As a caregiver to someone with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, you can support your loved one by connecting with the treatment team and participating in medication and treatment decisions.
A typical mental health treatment team includes doctors (eg, psychiatrists), psychologists, case managers, and peer specialists who provide support and treatment for your loved one along the recovery journey.
Remember that doctors and other team members must uphold privacy and confidentiality policies by law. For the treatment team to share information with you, your loved one must give them written or verbal permission.
Talk to your loved one about how he or she wants you to be involved in treatment team visits and if he or she is willing to sign a release that allows the doctor to share information with you.
Explore Medication and Treatment Options
Before the appointment, talk to your loved one about what he or she wants and needs from his or her medication and supportive treatments. Take some time to learn about treatment options to manage the symptoms of his or her condition.
Attend Doctor Visits
In addition to helping ensure that your loved one makes it to appointments, you can provide support by taking notes, helping communicate your loved one’s needs and wants, asking additional questions, and just being another set of ears.
Participate in Treatment Decisions
There may be times when your loved one wants support making decisions about his or her treatment and recovery. How much or little you are involved is up to your loved one. Talk about how you can help to make decisions together.
Be Involved in Follow-up
After the appointment, you can keep in touch with the treatment team to discuss progress and provide updates—including any side effects or changes in symptoms.
If your loved one is having a hard time taking his or her medication, you can talk to the doctor about other options and tips for remembering to take them. This can also be an opportunity for you to ask additional questions and learn more about your loved one’s condition.