What can be done to help a relative with schizophrenia?

If a person’s family member has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, that person can play a very important role by providing the patient with support and by helping them to receive appropriate care.1

It is important to gain a good understanding of schizophrenia in order to fully support a family member who has the illness. The doctor involved should be prepared to answer any questions the family might have about what schizophrenia is and how it is treated.

People with schizophrenia are sometimes not able to communicate during an assessment. In some cases, only a member of the patient’s family will be aware of their differing behaviour or ideas. Therefore, they can be valuable in providing support at medical appointments. If someone is related to a patient with schizophrenia, it will help to know about the family’s medical history and which medications the patient has been taking. The family member may also want to ask questions about medication, side-effects, long-term health risks and the risk of hospitalization. It is a good idea for the family member to write down questions in advance and to have some paper and a pen with them in case they want to take notes.