Forensic Carers are a specific group of Carers who have had to deal with their loved-one becoming so unwell they have come into contact with the Criminal Justice System. Not only do they have to deal with the mental health problem but specific restrictions around certain procedures.
They may also be recovering physically or psychologically (or both) after an injury from the Index Offence and so may need extra support when visits take place.
Forensic Carers need help and information and a named contact (e.g. a social worker) from the day the patient is admitted. The patient may have been transferred from prison, where visiting arrangements might be quite different, and carers need to know quickly how to access visits.
If a 37/41 restricted hospital order is in place, the carer cannot attend a medical tribunal as Nearest Relative – that role is taken by the MOJ and they have to attend as next of kin.
The social worker needs to discuss fully how to best represent the carer’s views at the tribunal, and there may also be input from a victim liaison officer.
Carers should be involved in discharge planning as much as possible especially if they have concerns for their own safety. Risk assessments should be put in place with any community services that take up the care for the patient once they leave St Andrew’s.
A Forensic Carer gives insight into the needs of this specific kind of carer