Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine

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Involvement of carers in acute treatment of patients with psychosis

Centre for Psychiatry

Funding Body: NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC)
Project Investigator: Stefan Priebe


Providing support to patients and carers and ensuring their involvement in psychiatric treatment has been recently strongly emphasized by national policies. Research conducted over the past two decades has shown that patients' outcomes improve when the need of family members for information, clinical guidance and support are met.

However, interventions to support and involve carers have proved to be difficult to implement in clinical practice, especially in inpatient settings.

We aim to develop, refine, implement and evaluate in acute psychiatric settings an intervention to:

  • Ensure an early involvement of carers in treatment and
  • Provide them psycho-education on the treatment of mental disorders.

Activities & outputs

In large scale observational studies we found that hospital treatment of the ill relatives/friends is a particularly complex and stressful experience for carers. Carers reported experiencing high levels of stress and frustration during the inpatient admission due to lack of information and involvement in care [1].

On the other hand, there is evidence that more positive carers' appraisals of inpatient treatment are associated with better patient outcomes [2].

We are conducting a systematic review of studies exploring carers' involvement in routine psychiatric treatment. Assessing barriers, problems and benefits related to carers' involvement will allow to better define and implement carers' involvement in clinical practice.

An intervention, based on research evidence, will be refined with the help of focus groups with carers, patients and staff. After this phase, the intervention will be manualised and piloted in order to test feasibility in clinical practice. The project will have an overall duration of five years.

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