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Case study 21: Carers drill (Royal College of Psychiatrists/Money Advice Trust)

Check for authority: – if the carer can supply evidence of their authority to act on the customer’s behalf, a more detailed discussion can be arranged once this is received; – if the carer cannot supply this evidence, or needs to share information about the customer now, the following steps should be taken:

Avoid discussing any account details, making sure to explain to the carer why this isn’t possible.

Reassure the carer that their concerns can still, however, be recorded as observations (unverified) on the customer’s account, and these can be looked into.

Explain to the carer that their observations will need to be shared with the customer, colleagues, and potentially any clients. Carers will need to give their consent for this.

Record the carer’s observations, listening carefully, and ensuring:

  • you have checked why the customer is unable to speak directly about these issues (is there, for example, a communication issue?);
  • you are clear how the customer’s mental health problem affects their ability;
  • you have confirmed with the carer what information has been recorded, and how long these unverified observations will be held on file while they are being checked.

Summarise the available next steps, which might include:

  • you (or a colleague) speaking with the customer concerned to establish if there is a problem, including checking the unverified observations made by the carer;
  • the carer discussing with the customer a potential mandate to act on their behalf;
  • the carer and customer working together to collect supporting medical evidence.