What impact do you think this has on the consumer and their relationship with their treating team?

What impact do you think this has on the consumer and their relationship with their treating team?
• What messages do you think this sends to consumers about the nature of their situation?
• How could this process be differently approached to make it more consumer friendly?
8. Medication and ethics of care
Pharmaceutical interventions
Pharmaceutical interventions are a major part of work within the mental health system (Meadows et al, 2012). However as demonstrated throughout this unit, medication is used within a much larger context of care. When planning occurs around medications, it is important that decisions are made as a team.
The following factors should be taken into account when planning around pharmaceutical interventions:
• Can the consumer reasonably afford the medication being prescribed? Some medications used in psychiatry are only on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme for specific diagnoses, despite their more broad use. Clearly prescribing medications which are financially prohibitive will not assist consumers in compliance.
• Will the consumer be placed on a treatment order? If so, does the medication prescribed allow for monitoring?
• Does the consumer have a history of deliberate self-harm? If so, is the medication being prescribed likely to be used in a future suicide attempt? If this is a possibility then consideration might be given to clinician-administered injections or, if the drug must be taken orally, to arranging for a pharmacist to dispense only small amounts of medication at a time.
• Does the consumer have a history of substance misuse? If so, some thought must be given on avoiding medications which may cause dependency or increased potential for abuse, such as benzodiazepines and dexamphetamine.
Ethical practice when providing treatment is essential for a number of reasons. Most importantly, ethical practice ensures that consumers are treated respectfully and their best interests are maintained at all times (Meadows et al, 2012). Another reason why it is important that you understand and work by your profession’s code of ethics is that it provides protection for you as a worker. The consequences for people who do not adhere to prescribed codes of ethical conduct can be deregistration and, on occasion, expulsion from practice.
Whilst each discipline has its own set of ethics which you should all be familiar with, there are some ethical principles and considerations that all clinicians should be familiar with before providing treatment to consumers:
• Pharmaceutical company promotion. Pharmaceutical companies invest significant amounts of money into promotion of their products. This can range from branded stationery through to free dinners and clinician retreats. Whilst these promotions can be appealing, a clinician’s intervention should be evidence-based. Clinicians should avoid any perceived conflicts of interest by reducing their reliance on promotional products.
• Clinicians should always provide balanced information to consumers. It is tempting to gloss over the negative side effects of medications in order to encourage medication compliance. However, consumers should always be made aware of the negative side effects of treatment in order to make informed decisions about their care.
• When consumers are assessed as having capacity to make informed decisions, clinicians should be careful not to withhold information or manipulate consumers into making particular decisions based on the clinician’s beliefs about what should happen.

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