Experiences and views of carers regarding the physical health care of people with severe mental illness: An integrative thematic review of qualitative research

Lok Lam Ho, Yan Li, Richard Gray, Grace W.K. Ho, Daniel Bressington

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review



People with severe mental illness (SMI) have high rates of physical illnesses. Informal carers are core partners in addressing these issues, however research on their views/experiences is limited and there is no systematic review published on the topic.


 This integrative thematic review explored the experiences and views of carers on physical health care in SMI by synthesizing the existing qualitative research findings. 


Six databases were searched from 2000 to 2021. Data were extracted and synthesised using thematic integrative analysis. The quality of included studies was assessed with the JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist. 


Five studies were included. Nine themes were identified conceptualising carers' perceived facilitators, barriers and roles regarding physical health care for people with SMI. 


Carers felt that receiving practical help and a specialised role for mental health nurses would facilitate better physical health care. Lack of coordination/communication and poor service access/responsiveness were common barriers, often compounded by diagnostic overshadowing. Carers are involved in promoting healthy lifestyles, monitoring physical health and supporting access to services. 

Implications for Practice 

Mental health nurses should ensure they are responsive to carers' concerns and proactively support them to promote the physical health of people with SMI.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • informal carers
  • physical health
  • qualitative research
  • severe mental illness
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health

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