Susanti H, Lovell K, Mairs H. What does the literature suggest about what carers need from mental health services for their own wellbeing? A Systematic Review. Enferm Clin. 2018 Feb;28 Suppl 1:102-111. English, Spanish. doi: 10.1016/S1130-8621(18)30047-0. PMID: 29650164.
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine prior studies relating to carers' needs from mental health services for their own wellbeing.
Method: A systematic approach was adopted for the literature review. The databases searched included MEDLINE, PSycINFO, EMBASE, and CINAHL, involving the use of search terms such as carers, mental health, and needs. The search was conducted in April 2012 and updated in December 2015. In total, 40 published papers were included in the review and were subsequently assessed for quality. For the data synthesis, a thematic analysis approach was employed to integrate the quantitative and qualitative evidence relating to carers' needs.
Results: Twenty-five of the reviewed studies were qualitative, 12 were quantitative, and 3 were mixed. Four major carer needs emerged from the synthesis: (1) holistic wellbeing of service users, (2) holistic wellbeing of carers, (3) supportive attitudes of professionals, and (4) carer involvement. All four of these needs, in fact, revolved around the carers' ill relatives.
Conclusions: The studies reviewed suggest that while carers of people suffering from mental illness have a range of needs, they generally fail to offer straightforward information about their own needs.