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Keywords:

  • family expectation;
  • family involvement;
  • professional–family relations;
  • professionals' approach;
  • psychiatric healthcare services

Accessible summary

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    The importance of involving family members in the care of individuals with schizophrenia or other psychotic illnesses has received increasing attention within psychiatric healthcare services. However, investigations among family members suggest that they often experience a lack of involvement. The professionals' approach towards them may have bearing on whether they feel involved or not.
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    The aim of this survey was to investigate what aspects family members of individuals receiving psychiatric care ascribe as important in relation to the healthcare professionals' approach towards them and how these aspects agree with their actual experiences.
  • • 
    Seventy family members of individuals with schizophrenia or other psychotic illnesses from various parts of Sweden replied to a questionnaire that was developed in order carry out this survey.
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    Results of this survey suggest that the participants valued openness, confirmation, cooperation and continuity as important aspects in the professionals' approach towards them. The results also show a low level of agreement between the participants' actual experience of the professionals' approach and what they consider as important.
  • • 
    The knowledge produced in this survey can contribute to an understanding of the expectations family members have regarding the professionals' approach towards them. Such knowledge plays an important role in contributing to the development of a family-focused perspective within psychiatric healthcare services.

Abstract

The importance of involving family members in the care of individuals with schizophrenia or other psychotic illnesses has received increasing attention within psychiatric healthcare services. However, several studies suggest that family members often experience a lack of involvement. Furthermore, research indicates that family members' experience of the professional's approach has bearing on whether they feel involved or not. Thus, the aims of this study were to investigate the level of importance that the family members of individuals with schizophrenia or other psychotic illnesses ascribe to the professionals' approach, the level of agreement between their experiences and what they consider as important, and aspects they consider to be important with regards to contact with professionals. Seventy family members from various parts of Sweden participated. Data were collected by the Family Involvement and Alienation Questionnaire and open-ended questions. The median level and quartiles were used to describe the distribution, and percentage agreement was analysed. Open-ended questions were analysed by qualitative content analysis. The results reveal that the majority of the participants consider Openness, Confirmation, and Cooperation as important aspects of a professional's approach. Continuity emerged as an additional aspect. The results show a low level of agreement between the participants' experience and what they consider as important.