Family Caregiving and the Seriously Mentally Illness

Afza.Malik GDA

Serious Mental Illness and Family Caregiver

Family Caregiving and the Seriously Mentally Illness

World Wide Mental Illness as a Health Issue,Coordination Between Nurses and Care Givers,Illness Understanding and Family Response How Mental Illness Effect Family,How Caregiver are Good Guider of Family Members,Difficulties Faced by Families.

World Wide Mental Illness as a Health Issue 

    Approximately eleven million adults in the United States live with serious mental illness and about three million dependent children. suffer from a severe emotional disturbance (Dean, 2003). The United States currently spends over $70 billion per year on mental health treatment. 

    Effective care of the mentally ill and their families requires early community intervention using a variety of integrated approaches including mental health and social service teams. 

    Effective mental health treatment must encompass sick individuals and their families and take into account the complex relationship between mental illness and unemployment, homelessness, drug addiction, and involvement in the criminal justice system.

Coordination Between Nurses and Care Givers

    The importance of alliance building between tween family caregivers, the mentally ill member and the health care team was described by Kempe (1994). Families are continuing to ask health professionals to communicate with them in a reciprocal way ( Biegel , Robinson , & Kennedy, 2000). 

    As mental health care continues to become more community-based, the family is required to assume more responsibility and care of their mentally ill member, yet families are not getting the direction and support that is needed (Levine, 1998). 

    Family caregiving for the mentally ill involves the family steadfastly assisting the mentally ill family member with basic physical and emotional needs as well as maintaining a positive relationship and environment that nurtures a sense of self and belonging and allows the mentally ill person to strive towards educational and vocational goals. 

    The roadblocks facing families attempting to care for their ill family member continue to be: 

(a) laws, policies, and regulations affecting care.

(b) attitudes of health care providers including psychiatrists and nurses.

(c) consumer misinformation and stigma.

    From the 1960s through the 1990s care-giving studies identified several negative issues such as burden and related stressors ( Maurin & Boyd, 1990). Caregivers were identified as needing much social support. Since 1990, these burdensome issues continued to exist but many positive aspects also have been described. 

    It has now been concluded that health care professionals must develop the theoretical flexibility to accommodate the diverse situations which family caregivers face in caring for their ill members. 

    Encouraging family caregivers to listen to experiences of others in caregiving roles and then learn to think creatively about them- selves and their experiences has been a strategy that is helpful ( Doornbos , 2002).

Illness Understanding and Family Response 

    Levine (1998) identified that families want information about mental illness and how to cope with the situation. It was also found that family caregivers value a positive relationship with health care providers, which includes respect and nonjudgmental approaches (Rose, KE, 1998a). 

    In addition, Biegel , Rob Inson , and Kennedy (2000) found that families also wanted dialogs within groups and individualized whole family support. Those studies reported that families continue to experience difficulties with the mental health. system and financial issues.

How Mental Illness Effect Family

    Chronic mental illness can affect the family in many ways, including changes in familiar roles, changes in subsystems within the family, possible isolation of family members, increased need for problem-solving skills, and adjustments with adaptability to family role changes. 

    Caregivers experience more distress as the number of tasks they must complete increases and the ill member's depression increases. The social support required is really a large affirming social network of support that includes professionals participating in the care of the mentally ill person ( Margliano et al., 1998),

How Caregiver are Good Guider of Family Members

    More research that focuses on family caregivers of the mentally ill is needed. Researchers need to focus on how to remove barriers that impede access to quality care. 

    Long-standing barriers include: mistaken public policy, insufficient health insurance coverage, money, the attitudes and practices of health care providers, and the attitudes and preferences of health care consumers. 

    One necessary research need is to determine ways to convince the political system of the need for parity in reimbursement for mental illness from insurance providers.

Difficulties Faced by Families

    Doornbos (2002) summarized the many difficulties experienced by families as they provide care for their mentally ill members. She found that the issues that families and their mentally ill members must cope with include stress, powerlessness, physical health issues, financial problems, and the enormous burden borne by nonprofessionals at- tempting to provide care for the mentally ill. 

    Finding a better way to meet the many needs described by family members with a mentally ill member is also an important contribution needed in nursing. Meeting these needs may best be accomplished through research and development of a health care model for all mental health professionals.


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