Educational needs of families caring for Chinese patients with schizophrenia

Wai Tong Chien, Ian Norman

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Schizophrenia is a disruptive and distressing illness for patients and family members who care for them. As in Western countries more than 20% of people with schizophrenia in Hong Kong are discharged to their homes, but their families are unprepared to care for them. Studies of caregivers' opinions about the information required to supervise patients are limited, particularly for the purposes of optimizing family-centred care. Aim. The aim of this study was to identify the educational needs of Chinese families caring for a relative with schizophrenia. Methods. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Hong Kong with a random sample of 204 family members caring for a relative with schizophrenia. A Chinese version of the Modified Educational Needs Questionnaire, validated in a previous study, was used to identify educational needs that family caregivers considered important in caring for mentally ill relatives. Findings. Educational needs perceived as important by caregivers included gaining information about early warning signs of illness and relapse, effects of medication and ways of coping with patients' bizarre and assaulting behaviour. Gender, education level and closeness of the relationship with the patient correlated positively and significantly with need importance. Conversely, the relationship between duration of caring for patient and need importance correlated significantly but negatively, indicating the adverse effect of enduring mental illness on family caregivers' interest in mental health education. Conclusion. This study emphasizes the importance of assessing specific family needs in caring for a relative with mental illness. It also raises concern about the negative effects of the length of time of caring for such patients and the role of socioeconomic factors on the perceived educational needs of these families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-498
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese
  • Education needs
  • Family caregivers
  • Hong kong
  • Nursing
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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