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Communication Tips for Caregivers

Here are some tips to help guide you while you care for your loved one.

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Communicating With Your Loved One

It can be challenging to know how to talk to someone who is experiencing things you can’t see or hear, but there are a few things you can do to communicate with your loved one more effectively.

Speak calmly, clearly, and simply. For example, try to discuss one issue at a time.

If they are withdrawing socially, try to engage your loved one with light and positive conversation.

Be sensitive to how your loved one is feeling. It’s possible to acknowledge the seeming reality of your loved one’s beliefs without supporting their delusions.

Practice active listening: Lean in and pay close attention to what they are saying and repeat it back to them to confirm you have understood.

If your loved one is behaving in a way you don’t understand, try to ask questions to get the motive behind their behavior. By understanding their motive, you may be able to encourage different behavior.

If your loved one is saying or doing something that you don’t understand, try to ask questions to get to what the motive for their behavior is. That way, you can use that motivation to encourage a different behavior.

If your loved one is refusing to take their medication, try to focus your conversation on how medication is a key tool to help achieve their goals.

Working With Treatment Teams

  • Healthcare professionals are required by law to protect their patients’ privacy, so they cannot discuss information with a caregiver or anyone else without appropriate permission or legal authority
  • In order for you to help support your loved one’s treatment plans, your loved one may need to sign a patient authorization form that gives their healthcare professional permission to share information with you
  • Often, releasing confidential information is your loved one’s or their legal decision maker’s choice. It’s important to respect your loved one’s privacy, but it’s worth having a conversation with them so they can better understand how signing a patient authorization form would be valuable at the start of treatment

Remind your loved one that you want them to make a clear, informed decision today. That way, you can be of assistance to their treatment team if there’s an emergency.

Read up about schizophrenia as much as you can…go to classes…get in a support group.... I needed to get more knowledge to understand what we were dealing with....

– A schizophrenia community member

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Create Your Own Treatment Change Discussion Guide

Everyone’s schizophrenia treatment plan and journey is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all list of questions to ask when you or your loved one is considering making a change in medication. This customizable guide will help you have a better discussion with your treatment team based on the things that are important to you.

There are 2 kinds of questions in this guide:

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Questions to ask yourself before meeting with your treatment team

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Questions to ask your healthcare professional

What’s next?

Caring for Yourself

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