The following recommendations are based upon the findings of this study and are directed at policy makers and practitioners wishing to reduce inconsistent provision of carer support and implement best practice. As a minimum, we underline the importance of the following general recommendations from the Triangle of Care:
- Carers and the essential role they play are identified at first contact or as soon as possible thereafter.
- Staff are ‘carer aware’ and trained in carer engagement strategies.
- Policy and practice protocols regarding confidentiality and sharing information are in place.
- Defined post(s) responsible for carers is/are in place.
- A carer introduction to the service and staff is available, with a relevant range of information across the care pathway.
- A range of carer support services is available.
To meet the specialist needs of forensic carers in Scotland, we further recommend:
- Acknowledging and sharing across the forensic estate information about existing good practice in fostering a culture of partnership with carers and supporting them to be a core part of forensic mental health services.
- Having designated staff within forensic mental health services who are responsible for advancing the carer agenda, driving the agenda forward and being a point of contact for new carers.
- Forensic mental health services providing a comprehensive and accessible information pack for carers, taking into account their diverse communication needs.
- Forensic mental health services considering what information, advice and support planning needs to be in place to alleviate uncertainties for carers associated with transitions.
- Forensic mental health services working to minimise the stigma that forensic carers experience, and doing so in partnership with carers who have direct experience of this stigma.
- Involving carers in support planning and review processes including active encouragement and support to be involved in CPA reviews.
- Forensic mental health services holding regular carer events such as open days at secure units.
All forensic mental health services organising and/or supporting a regular forensic carer support group serviced by the unit or in partnership with the voluntary sector or carers, along the lines of existing successful forensic carer groups