Involvement of Family Members in Treatment Plans for their Hospitalized Relative

By Rose Bauer, family member

Frequently family members lack specific knowledge of the process used by staff in working with hospitalized patients. They generally know a psychiatrist and other staff are involved and each patient has a record or chart. Knowledge of staff roles, what the chart contains and how treatment goals are arrived at, however, is often limited. Many family members have never attended a meeting to discuss their relative and some are unaware that with the consent of the adult patient, involvement is permitted.

In most states whenever an adult patient is hospitalized meetings must be held periodically to review and discuss treatment goals and plans for that patient. These meetings are usually referred to as "treatment meetings" or "treatment review meetings" or "treatment planning meetings".

At some hospitals staff may omit inviting family members to participate in treatment planning meetings. It is thus important for family members to take action if they are interested in attending.

How to request involvement in treatment planning meetings:

a) Phone the hospital social worker or other staff member on the ward where your relative is residing. Request permission to attend the "treatment planning" meetings. b) Write a letter to the hospital expressing your interest in attending the meetings. Request that the letter be placed in the patientís record. c) Request that the hospital inform you IN WRITING of the time, date and place of each of meeting . d) Request that the hospital explain any reasons why your attendance cannot/should not be allowed. (Reasons: patient will not allow; psychiatrist feels it is in appropriate and has explained to you why IN WRITING.) e) Request any particular staff members you would like to attend the treatment planning meetings. (Generally the psychiatrist, nurse and social worker are present at the meetings. Sometimes, however, this does not occur, thus if you wish a particular person present, inform the hospital in your letter.

---Sample letter to inform the psychiatric hospital (or medical hospital that has a psychiatric unit) that you are interested in being invited to Treatment Planning meetings.

sample sample sample sample sample sample sample sample sample sample sample sample sample sample sample

Quality Care Psychiatric Center lll Psych Lane Anywhere, NY DATE__________

Attention: Mr. John Smith, Social Worker

Dear Mr. Smith: I wish to take this opportunity to inform you of my interest in attending the Treatment Planning meetings regarding my son, XYZ Bauer, who is currently on unit 22 at your hospital. I would appreciate being informed in writing of the time and place of the meetings several days in advance so that I can make arrangements to attend.

My address is 111 Hopeful Lane, Anywhere, NY. I can be reached at 111 -111 during the day (9:00 to 5:00) and at 111-222 after six oíclock. I would like to request that this letter be placed in my sonís chart to alert other staff of my interest, should (Son/Daughter Name ) be transferred to another unit. I appreciate all you are doing for my son.

Thank you for your assistance with this matter. If there are any difficulties with this request , please phone me at your earliest convenience.

Very truly yours,



   Copyright 1996-2004. All Rights Reserved.