Care Demands-related Concerns and Perceived Service Needs of Families of People with Mental Illness in the Community

Saloma P, Chan KG, Ong MF


Owing to reduced inpatient stays, people with mental illness (PMI) were often discharged from the hospital in 'acute' conditions. During this transition period of fragility, the relocation of care from hospital to home has tremendous impact on every aspect of a family’s life as they need to face a challenging task of caring especially when they are 'not ready' and 'ignorant' about the chronicity and severity of the illness. Furthermore, where economic and psychological support is concerned, those who are undertaking this task may require significant professional guidance.


Aims: This study examines the experiences of 100 families in caring for people with mental illness in the community.


Methods: Qualitative interviews were conducted in their homes within three Malaysian states of Sabah, Sarawak and Johor in year 2013.


Results: Three themes emerged from the findings of 'care demands related concerns' of these families. These include theme (1): care provision related concerns of families which were related to the needs of people with mental illness for continuing care provision, their non-compliance with medication and relapse, altered sleep pattern, limited self-care ability, behavioral problems and also social isolation. Theme (2): perceived availability of resources of service provision/support which were related to activities planned for the families before the discharge of the people with mental illness and theme (3): family members perceived service needs whereby they informed of their needs such as continual health care through home visit, provision of financial aid, job coach service, centre for care provision of PMI and rehabilitative programs.


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community; people with mental illness; non-compliance with medication; relapse; social isolation

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