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Preferences for family involvement among veterans in treatment for schizophrenia.

Cohen AN, Pedersen ER, Glynn SM, Hamilton AB, McNagny KP, Reist C, Chemerinski E, Young AS. Preferences for family involvement among veterans in treatment for schizophrenia. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. 2019 Sep 1; 42(3):210-219.

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OBJECTIVE: Examine preferences for family involvement in psychiatric care in a large, representative sample of veterans in treatment for schizophrenia. METHOD: Veterans with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder ( = 801) completed an assessment that included questions about demographic and clinical characteristics, status of family support, and preference for family involvement in their psychiatric care. Open-ended items were independently coded by two raters and categorized; Cohen's kappa was calculated for each category. RESULTS: Among the 801 participants, 496 (61.9%) indicated that they had a family member who provided them with regular support; 304 (37.9%) had no family member who provided support; and 1 did not respond. Among the 304 without support, 272 (89.4%) had a living family member. Of the 496 participants who had a supportive family member, 135 (27.2%) wanted their family member involved in their care. Of the 272 participants who did not have a supportive family member, but had living family, 57 (21.0%) wanted their family involved. Barriers to involvement included concerns about privacy and burden. Preferred method of involvement included contact with the patient's psychiatrist and education about the illness. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Preferences indicated by this large representative sample of individuals in care for schizophrenia indicate that a majority have supportive family and a substantial minority want family involved in their psychiatric care. Clinicians can address concerns about privacy and burden and deliver preferred services by phone or mail, overcoming anticipated barriers. Desire for family support groups was limited but present. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

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