Schizophrenia through the carers’ eyes: results of a European cross-sectional survey.

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Schizophrenia through the carers' eyes: results of a European cross-sectional survey.

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2015 May 6;

Authors: Svettini A, Johnson B, Magro C, Saunders J, Jones K, Silk S, Hargarter L, Schreiner A

Abstract
ACCESSIBLE SUMMARY: Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder affecting approximately 29 million people worldwide. The ideal treatment and care of patients with schizophrenia should be provided by a multidisciplinary 'team' involving psychiatrists, nurses and other healthcare professionals, together with carers and patients. In light of the key role carers play in the care of patients with schizophrenia, the present survey was designed to assess the opinions of family members and friends of patients with schizophrenia across Europe and to ascertain their attitudes towards the illness, medication and adherence to medication. Among carers participating in this survey, there was widespread awareness of the issues involved in supporting patients with schizophrenia and the importance of their role in improving poor adherence to medication. Three differences in opinion emerged between the views of carers and psychiatrists; psychiatrists rely more on the patient themselves when assessing adherence than carers would recommend; in contrast to psychiatrists, many carers believe the illness itself contributes to non-adherence; two thirds of carers think that schizophrenia medication damages health (higher than estimated by psychiatrists). The findings from the present survey, taken together with the results from the Adherencia Terapéutica en la Esquizofrenia surveys of psychiatrists and nurses, support the need for a collaborative approach to the issue of treatment nonadherence. In particular, healthcare professionals should recognize the valuable contribution that family carers can make to improve treatment adherence and consequently clinical outcomes for patients with schizophrenia.
ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia carries a significant burden for families providing care. The Adherencia Terapéutica en la Esquizofrenia (ADHES) carers' survey was designed to assess the opinions of family and friends of patients with schizophrenia across Europe and ascertain their attitudes towards the illness, medication and adherence to medication. A questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey of 138 carers across 16 European countries. Interpretation of results was based on a descriptive comparison of responses. Carers recognized the importance of medication to help patients get better (76%) and improve their quality of life (76%) and relationships (74%). Sixty-seven per cent believed medication damages general health. Sixty-five per cent reported that treatment adherence was a burden for patients. Thirty-eight per cent indicated that it was a daily struggle to get patients to take their medication. Fifty per cent perceived that medication administered every few weeks rather than daily was quite/very important. Ninety-three per cent agreed on the importance of family support to boost adherence, with education and information deemed important for families and patients. Carers rely less on the patient themselves when assessing adherence than psychiatrists. The burden faced by carers and patients in taking medication provides an opportunity for healthcare professionals to provide support in a multidisciplinary 'team' involving psychiatrists, nurses and carers.

PMID: 25944551 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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