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A qualitative systematic review of caregivers’ experiences of caring for family diagnosed with schizophrenia
journal contributionposted on 06.09.2021, 04:10 by Michelle L Cleary, Sancia West, Glenn E Hunt, Loyola McLean, Rachel Kornhaber
Objective: To synthesise qualitative research that explored caregivers’ experiences of caring for family diagnosed with schizophrenia. Methods: Electronic databases including PsycINFO, PubMed, CINAHL and Scopus were searched to identify relevant journal articles published from 2000 to March 2019. Quality was assessed and thematic synthesis of the qualitative research evidence undertaken. Papers were screened and independently appraised by two reviewers using The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) for Qualitative Studies Checklist. The review was guided by Thomas and Harden's framework for thematic synthesis of qualitative research evidence. Results: The breadth of information across the 43 papers was noteworthy. Review of the findings noted that almost all of what was discussed fell into three broad themes: the ‘feelings’ of the caregiver towards their role, the patient and others, including the health system; the ‘impacts’ of the diagnosis and their caregiving role on the caregiver; and the ‘needs’ of the caregiver to improve the patient’s quality of life and thereby the caregiver’s quality of life. Within needs also came recommendations for future changes. Conclusion: Studies have shown that the caregiving process is a complex one, with both negative and positive emotional reactions, societal barriers, such as stigma and isolation, and unmet needs, such as timely, relevant and helpful information. Meeting the needs identified by caregivers has the capacity to address the impacts of the illness and caregiving and thereby reduce the negative feelings associated with the caregiver role.