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Keywords:

  • early intervention in psychosis;
  • informal caregiver;
  • need;
  • relative;
  • unresolved grief.

Abstract

Aim: Relatives of service users involved with Early Intervention in Psychosis services often experience substantial distress and need associated with their role as caregivers. This study adapted versions of the Relatives Cardinal Needs Schedule and the Texas Inventory of Grief and tested their utility for use among relatives of service users experiencing a first episode of psychosis.

Methods: Staff, service users and relatives were consulted and a pilot took place which facilitated the creation of the Relatives' Urgent Needs Schedule – Early Intervention version (RUNS-EI) and the Texas Inventory of Grief – Early Intervention version (TIG-EI). Thirty service user-caregiver dyads were recruited for the evaluation of reliability and validity.

Results: The level of ‘urgent need’ identified by the RUNS-EI demonstrated good concurrent validity with measures of service user social and global functioning as well as measures assessing relatives' distress, expressed emotion and grief. The measure demonstrated acceptable interrater and test–retest reliability. The profile of need is reported. The TIG-EI demonstrated ‘excellent’ internal consistency. It also demonstrated good concurrent validity with increased TIG-EI scores correlated with reduced service user social and global functioning as well as increased scores on measures assessing relatives' distress, expressed emotion and caregiving needs.

Conclusions: Results appear to support these assessments' utility as measures of need for psychosocial intervention and grief among relatives supporting service users experiencing a first episode of psychosis.