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Article   |    
Confidentiality and the Family as Caregiver
John P. Petrila; Robert L. Sadoff
Psychiatric Services 1992; doi:
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The authors thank Michael Perlin, J.D., professor of law at New York Law School, for his helpful suggestions.

New York State Office of Mental Health in Albany, 44 Holland Avenue, Albany, New York 12229

psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania

1992 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Many families provide mentally ill relatives with a residence and other support. Although professionals increasingly acknowledge the importance of the supportive role families play, families continue to report that they receive too little information from professionals about the patient, particularly when the family acts as caregiver. The authors suggest that mental health professionals' views about confidentiality may prevent them from providing information to families and urge professionals to rethink the issue of confidentiality and its application to families acting as caregivers. The authors conclude that certain information about a patient can—and should—be shared with families who are in a caregiver role without violating clinical, legal, or ethical principles.

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