Monday, August 17, 2015

Parent Caregivers Need TLC, Too: Four areas of need were highlighted in a small study in Ireland.

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
July/August Volume 26, Number 4
©2015 IAEDP
Serving as a caregiver has challenges; being a caregiver to an adolescent with anorexia nervosa (AN) can be even more difficult than usual. Parents of AN patients face stigma, lack of access to services, ignorance about AN, and limited support. A recent pilot study by two researchers at Trinity College and St. Patrick’s Mental Health Service, Dublin, Ireland, examined some of these issues (Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2015. 29:143).

Four key themes

Carol McCormack and Edward McCann discovered four key themes when they recruited a small group of parents of teens with AN who were being treated at an outpatient clinic in Ireland. 
The first area of concern had to do with the family environment, where parents reported that “all aspects of family life were affected” by the illness. While families felt that the illness had initially “taken over” the family, this feeling gradually waned as the teen began to recover. Communication within the family, including how the young patient should be “managed” or supervised, and conflicts about stigma and guilt were all important themes.
A second area of concern was the psychosocial impact upon the parents, particularly social, technical, and emotional components. Restrictions on family meals away from home were a source of frustration, as meals tended to be limited to settings acceptable to the adolescents. One finding was that parents who spent more time at home reported a greater number of significant disturbances than did those who worked outside of the home.
The third area of concern surrounded quality of care and the sometimes-negative experiences with available services. Some parents and their children had been to general practitioners who had dismissed the teen’s problems or seemed unaware of available treatment options, and other parents and teens were frustrated by the delays in finding appropriate help. A fourth area was the need for more information or referral to a support group, which parents felt would have been very beneficial to them.
Finally, despite the challenges of care-giving, parents also clearly articulated that they were able to recognize positive aspects to the illness, including the hope of recovery, development of inner strength, and improved family communication.
The researchers stressed that their study results point to an urgent need for additional information and support for parents, so that they may better cope with a child with an eating disorder. In addition, they noted that professionals in non-specialist areas may also benefit from additional skills training.

No comments:

Post a Comment