Original Research

Experiences of family members of relatives admitted as state patients in a psychiatric hospital

Seipati Malebye, Nompumelelo Ntshingila, Marie Poggenpoel
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 29 | a1958 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v29i0.1958 | © 2023 Seipati Malebye, Nompumelelo Ntshingila, Marie Poggenpoel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 July 2022 | Published: 26 July 2023

About the author(s)

Seipati Malebye, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein, South Africa
Nompumelelo Ntshingila, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein, South Africa
Marie Poggenpoel, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein, South Africa

Abstract

 

Background: Family members play an important role in caring for state patients during their admission to a psychiatric hospital. They receive limited support from the multidisciplinary team because they do not have a relationship that will promote the families to verbalise their thoughts, rather the interaction that the multidisciplinary team and family members share is about the admitted state patient.

Aim: This article explored and described the experiences of family members who have a relative admitted as a state patient in a psychiatric hospital. Based on the findings, specific recommendations were provided to facilitate the mental health of state patients’ family members in the future.

Setting: The study was conducted in participants’ homes; only one interview took place in the psychiatric hospital when the family member came to meet the multidisciplinary team.

Methods: The study employed a qualitative, exploratory and contextual research design. Family members’ lived experiences were explored using in-depth phenomenological interviews and later analysed.

Results: The findings indicated family members experienced negative feelings, a sincere desire to support their relatives and a great need to share information and knowledge about mental illness.

Conclusion: The study indicated that state patients’ family members’ mental health should be focused on to improve their understanding of mental illness.

Contribution: The findings of this study call for collaboration between the family members, the police and multidisciplinary teams from the hospitals, the mental health awareness and counselling for families.


Keywords

admitted; experiences; family members; relative; state patient; qualitative.

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