Medication and physical health
If you are caring for someone using Trust services, they may have been prescribed medication. Everyone has the right to make an informed decision about which medication(s) to take and the Trust wants to support the service user and the carer to make an informed decision. Service users can talk about their diagnosis and about any prescribed medication to healthcare professionals involved in their care such as their doctor, nurse or pharmacist. Carers can also speak to these healthcare professionals if they have any questions.
When a medication is dispensed by a pharmacy it will usually be supplied with a Patient Information Leaflet (PIL), a useful source of information that explains what a particular medication is for, how it should be taken, and possible side-effects. Further information about medication and health conditions is available from the following websites:
Choice and Medication website:
A database of expert information on medication choices, side-effects, etc.
Medicines and Healthcare products regulatory agency website:
Easyhealth produces information about health conditions that is accessible and easy to read and includes the use of pictures. There are more than 500 leaflets on the Easyhealth website that can be downloaded and printed.
NICE: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
An independent organisation that produces evidence-based national guidance about medicine, treatment and procedures.
NHS Choices website
In addition to the searchable A-Z listing of conditions, the ‘Live Well’ section of the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk offers general help and information on diet, stopping smoking, getting enough exercise, and coping with stress.
Physical health of our service users
People with mental and physical health problems and learning disabilities are at increased risk of physical illnesses. It is therefore important to us that our service users receive care for and attention to their physical health.
All service users will have their physical health needs considered at an initial assessment and as part of regular reviews. Care co-ordinators and carers should be part of these discussions where the service user wants them to be.
Considering physical health needs means:
- Gathering information about past and present illnesses.
- A review of current physical health and symptoms and current lifestyle (including
- smoking, diet and exercise).
- May include physical health monitoring such as weight, blood pressure monitoring.
- May require blood tests before starting treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Medication and physical health
What can I do as a carer if the person I care for is either refusing to take their medication or is having side-effects that were not discussed when the medication was prescribed?
Encourage the person you care for to raise these concerns themselves. As a carer you can also speak to the team which is caring for the person you care for or to the health professional, but if you raise concerns about someone using our services please be aware that your concerns may be logged on their record and discussed with them. Your GP may also be able to offer advice. You can also telephone the CPFT pharmacists on 01733 776006 (Peterborough) or 01223 218518 (Cambridge).
What can I do if I feel that the service has neglected the physical health needs of the person I care for?
If you are concerned that the service has overlooked the physical health needs of the person you care for you can, as above, raise these concerns with the service. However, any queries that are raised by you may be discussed with the service user.
Understanding the concept of recovery, resilience and re-ablement
It is important that carers understand the concept of recovery in the context of mental illness, learning disability, dementia and forensic services. This is because the concept of recovery used here has a particular meaning which is significantly different from our usual understanding of the word recovery as it might apply to a treatable physical health problem.
The key factor in this concept of recovery is a change in outlook by the carer and the person you are caring for. The ongoing journey becomes a journey about how to live a meaningful and purposeful life, with or without ongoing episodes of illness, and how to sustain emotional wellbeing as well as physical health.
The support provided by the carer in helping achieve the goals of recovery, resilience and re-ablement underpins the ongoing journey.
Understanding hospital admission/discharge
Periods of inpatient care can be an additional burden for carers. The uncertain situation may increase anxiety and stress levels whilst the emotional and physical strain of hospital visits may lead to greater exhaustion.
Having access to information about diagnosis and treatment can help to alleviate concerns and as a carer you have a right to this information. Please ask staff on the ward for help and access to the healthcare professionals who are caring for the person you care for.
The period after discharge from hospital can be a particularly difficult time for both patient and carer: extra emotional and practical support may be needed and it is important that you are fully prepared and know what to expect.
In addition, if the person you care for has been receiving care under section as a psychiatric in-patient then you may need to be extra vigilant in the post-discharge period. More advice is available in the ‘Guide to coming out of hospital’ in the ‘Help and Advice’ section of the Carring Together website www.caringtogether.org