Family needs and related factors in caring for a family member with mental illness: Adopting assertive community treatment in Japan where family caregivers play a large role in community care

Authors

  • Tamaki Sono msc,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Mental Health, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo,
    2. Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry and
    • Tamaki Sono, MSc, Department of Mental Health, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan. Email: hello@tamakisono.jp

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  • Iwao Oshima phd,

    1. Faculty of Social Welfare, Japan College of Social Work, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Junichiro Ito md, phd

    1. Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry and
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  • [Correction added on 20 May 2015, after online issue publication: Iwao Oshima’s affiliation has been corrected.]

Abstract

Aim:  In Japan the family plays a large role in community care for persons with mental illness; therefore the aim of the present study was to describe the needs of family caregivers related to assertive community treatment (ACT) and to analyze the relationship of these needs to underlying factors.

Methods:  Participants were recruited from the membership of three family associations of persons with mental illness. Of the 224 family members, 152 (67.9%) completed a self-report questionnaire consisting of the following measures: demographic variables, family life difficulty scale, global burden, general life satisfaction, subjective health status, family rejection scale, quantity of supportive behaviors, and needs for ACT.

Results:  More than 70% of participants reported that service components of ACT would be beneficial, especially in the future. Functions that helped maintain the ordinary routine of family life were significantly correlated with current needs for ACT.

Conclusions:  When a person has chronic mental illness the family has many needs related to ACT. When functions that maintained the ordinary routine of family life were disturbed, the need for ACT support increased. Elderly parents or siblings were also concerned about the future, when caring for the member with mental illness would become more difficult.

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