March 08, 2006

Caregivers Need Care - Report Finds

A New Zealand study that just came out highlights the challenge that families face when a son or daughter suffers from schizophrenia. The full report is available for download and viewing at the bottom of this news story. While the study was done in New Zealand - most of the issues are the same for care givers around the world.

A local New Zealand newspaper reported that

"An advocacy group is calling for better services for schizophrenics as new research shows family caregivers often end up quitting jobs and suffering stress and anxiety.

More than half of the caregivers in the Schizophrenia Fellowship New Zealand (SFNZ) study released today reported being unable to work in their usual employment.

The average drop in weekly income due to doing less paid work was about $221.

Carers -- usually parents -- typically spent about 52 hours a week providing care. They commonly reported feeling stressed, anxious and alienated from others in society.

About three people in every 1000 are thought to be affected by schizophrenia, a psychotic illness with symptoms of paranoia and hallucinations. It is often also accompanied by behavioural and emotional problems.

Researcher and SFNZ national liaison manager Anna Ah Kuoi said community support services needed to be more flexible.

"At the moment, they run from 8.30 to 5 and five days a week. People aren't sick from 8.30 to 5," she said.

Families also needed access to respite care, both residential and at home care.

Outside carers are funded by the Ministry of Health at $75 for 24 hours, which was insufficient to attract enough people to do the work, Ah Kuoi said.

She also called for more education to combat the isolation and stigma felt by families.

"We teach at school about sexual health, first aid, heart resuscitation and about dinosaurs we can't see, but the very thing that 20 per cent of us live with -- mental illness -- we're not taught about."

Canterbury Schizophrenia Fellowship manager Diane Gooch said it should be acknowledged that families provided as much care as medical professionals to people with schizophrenia.

"It's all the unseen things: the meals that are provided by mum, the trips to get their blood tests -- all those things to keep that person well enough to live in the community."

Ah Kuoi called for more research to determine how families caring for people with schizophrenia could best be supported.

Christchurch woman Jenni said she sometimes felt depressed and her own motivation had dropped since her 23-year- old son was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

More information:

See the full report: Impact of schizophrenia on carers in New Zealand:
The cost of caring
(this is a 2 MB .pdf file so it may be slow in downloading).

New Zealand Schizophrenia Awareness Week (March 6 to 11)

Schizophrenia Fellowship New Zealand


I read through the report and found it a much needed crisis to be told, families deal with so much regarding mental health, there like the 'wood in the glue' so to speak and this report highlights many facets of being a parent and how difficult it is.
Excellent Report and MUCH NEEDED

Posted by: Shannon Hawkins at April 11, 2006 05:14 AM

not only in new zeland, it's happening all over the usa, especially in north carolina, no help , only the mom takes care of them. and yes it is an all day long and sometimes nite job, we desperately need facilities built and good places for them to live with some recreation for the younger folks, they did not choose this, if it were your child you would think about it long and hard.

Posted by: mary elkins at October 27, 2007 08:42 PM

Post a comment

Please enter this code to enable your comment -
Remember Me?
(you may use HTML tags for style)
* indicates required