People with learning disabilities and complex needs can often find themselves in services far from their family homes, particularly the case if the person has a mental health problem. This study set out to find out the views of family members of those people who were being cared for in out-of-area psychiatric hospitals. The authors were particularly concerned to explore the issue of the provision of culturally appropriate services.
The researchers interviewed sixteen family members to explore their views. The team were able to transcribe and analyse the responses to identify the key themes.
Amongst the views expressed, a number emerged as important to the respondents, including, a feeling of shame, concerns about the safety of their family member, concerns that cultural needs were not well understood and were not being appropriately met and a concern that despite the specialist nature of the support that was being offered, a lack of any real signs of improvement in the condition of their family member. A major theme was a feeling of lack of involvement in the process of planning and delivery of care.
The authors conclude that family members hold a number of negative views about their experiences of out of area placements, but that these views could be used as a guide to those areas where significant quality improvement could take place in inpatient services.
People with intellectual disabilities in out-of-area specialist hospitals: What do families think? Bonell S et al, in Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 24: 389–397