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Schizophr Bull. 1994;20(3):557-66.

Needs of family caregivers in chronic schizophrenia.

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  • 1Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Adelaide, South Australia.


The goals of the study were to describe (1) the tasks undertaken by people who care for a relative with chronic schizophrenia, according to their level of contact with the patient; and (2) any needs for further help that these caregivers might experience. Interviews and standardized questionnaires were used to collect information from 121 family caregivers whose relatives had been diagnosed an average of 14 years previously. Burden in the sense of interference in caregivers' daily lives was most marked for caregivers in high contact with the patients. Patients whom the caregivers regarded as enjoyable to live with had greater self-care and communication skills. Caregivers preferred that patients low in these skills or high in disruptive behavior live in supervised settings. Caregivers expressed particular support for earlier professional intervention in episodes of illness, information about how to lobby politicians for resources, and information about schizophrenia. These results can be used to plan interventions to reduce caregiver stress.

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