Caregivers of patients with schizophrenia, an often overlooked target for education, feel they act as a mediator between the patient and their medical team and are responsible for the patient's therapeutic adherence, according to survey results presented in a poster session at the Nevada Psychiatric Association’s 26th Annual National Psychopharmacology Update.
The study aimed to inform future educational efforts by understanding the perceptions of caregivers of patients with schizophrenia. Researchers surveyed 96 caregivers of patients with schizophrenia, 57% of whom were parents. Patients’ most common current treatments were oral antipsychotics (79%), psychotherapy (43%), and long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotics (18%).
"Caregivers indicated information and education on new medications, coping as a caregiver, and understanding specific symptoms would be most useful to them," said researcher Greg D. Salinas, PhD, president of CE Outcomes, Birmingham, Alabama.
"Nearly all caregivers utilize online or internet-based resources to learn about schizophrenia. Less than half use other resources such as printed information from health care professionals," Dr. Salinas told virtual attendees.
The study results found that 87% of caregivers utilize online resources, 41% use printed materials received from healthcare professionals, and 31% utilize printed materials not obtained from healthcare professionals.
Caregivers want help recognizing, understanding, and managing specific common symptoms of schizophrenia, particularly delusions and aggression, researchers said. Caregivers are also interested in information on new and emerging therapies, which may assist them in discussions with clinicians about different treatment options for patients with schizophrenia.
Citrome L, Belcher E, Stacy S, et al. Educational needs of caregivers of patients with schizophrenia: results of a national survey study. Poster presented at: 26th Annual National Psychopharmacology Update; February 11, 2021; Virtual.