Submission Type

Original Research


Introduction: According to existing literature, family-caregiver needs during a loved one’s inpatient psychiatric hospitalization are not fully understood or addressed in practice. We aimed to identify specific, practical family caregiver needs from the inpatient team during a loved one’s psychiatric hospitalization.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were designed and tested through a phenomenological analytical approach. Interviews were conducted with family caregivers (n = 16, one caregiver per loved one) who participated in caring for a loved one (age 18-30 years) during an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.

Results: Four main themes arose: the need to be listened to and collaborated with regarding treatment planning, the need for education and guidance about mental illness, the need for emotional support and validation by the inpatient team, and that family caregivers associate their experience with their perception of their loved one’s experience.

Discussion: Interactions with the inpatient team are meaningful to family caregivers, who have needs that are or are not met. Study participants indicated that they feel better supported when they are fully included in their loved one’s care, it matters how information and education are delivered and by whom, and they appreciate dedicated support for themselves. Furthermore, their feelings are influenced by their understanding of their loved one’s experience.

Conclusions: Understanding what family caregivers value in their interactions with the inpatient team illuminates areas to design support for family caregivers with a loved one in a psychiatric hospital. Families want support from the whole team for different needs at different times throughout hospitalization and after discharge.



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