Improving Patient Outcomes by Engaging Family Members

March 4, 2017
Julie Carbray

SAN FRANCISCO—Engaging patients’ family members when treating psychiatric disorders can help improve outcomes in a variety of ways, attendees learned at Elevate by Psych Congress 2017.

Beginning that engagement as early as possible in the course of treatment can enhance results even further, said Julie Carbray, PhD, FPMHNP, PMHCNS, APN, a Steering Committee member for Elevate and Psych Congress.

Dr. Carbray is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Nursing, Administrative Director, Pediatric Mood Disorder Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Presenting at Elevate, she cited a study on 100 teens seen in the Boston Children’s Hospital Emergency Room, 67 of whom received family-based crisis interventions there. Of the 67, 65 of the teens (97%) did not need to be hospitalized, and participated in continued outpatient care following the intervention.

In treating early-onset schizophrenia, research shows that involving families in treatment lowers relapse rates and helps with medication adherence, according to Dr. Carbray.

Families can also give clinicians insight into a patient's culture and how it could be impacting treatment, and help patients gain new perspective on their own conditions, she said.

Dr. Carbray, who has been interacting with families for approximately 30 years, said it is a critical part of working in the mental health field.

“There is nothing better than walking with a family through a psychiatric illness and getting to the other side,” she said. “That’s why we do it.”

—Terri Airov


“Working with Patients and Their Families: Best Practices and Helpful Hints.” Presented at Elevate by Psych Congress 2017; March 4, 2017; San Francisco, CA.