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Mental Health Staff and Patient's Relatives: How They View Each Other
Kayla F. Bernheim; Tim Switalski
Psychiatric Services 1988; doi:
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The authors are grateful for the participation of the members of the Buffalo Family Project advisory committee in the development of the survey instruments.

Livingston County Counseling Services in Mt. Morris, New York

New York State Office of Mental Health

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

As part of a project to better serve the needs of patients' families, a New York state psychiatric facility surveyed 350 inpatient and outpatient staff and 250 family members about their attitudes toward each other and about the role of families in the patients' treatment. Generally staff felt positively about families and believed they should be meaningfully involved in the patients' treatment, but 61 percent reported spending less than one hour per week in contact with families. Staff cited conflict among themselves about the role of families and lack of time as the greatest impediments to interacting with families. Most families felt staff were supportive of them, but only 19 percent said staff provided them with enough information. Less than 21 percent had been invited to treatment planning meetings or to discharge conferences. The center is currently implementing training programs and administrative changes intended to increase cooperation between staff and patients' families.

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