Most schizophrenia patients are supported by main informal caregivers at home in China. This study aims to investigate the further needs of social supports for main informal caregivers of schizophrenia patients and to analyze influencing factors on the awareness and utilization of social supports in Beijing. The results of this study could potentially act as reference for health professionals to implement appropriate and effective support programs.
A mixed-methods approach was used in this study. Awareness, utilization and influencing factors of social supports for main informal caregivers were investigated using questionnaires in 6 urban districts in Beijing. Meanwhile, individual in-depth interviews with 10 main informal caregivers from the urban districts of Beijing were conducted to identify the caregivers’ perspective on social supports and their further needs.
Quantitative results showed that although the government provided multi-channel resources for schizophrenia patients and their families, awareness and utilization of the resources such as rehabilitation and relevant subsidies were less than 10.0 and 5.0% respectively. Most caregivers in in-depth interviews expressed that they had negative experiences with respect to obtaining social supports, and they emphasized that more support would be needed in terms of financial support, respect, and rehabilitation institutions.
The awareness and utilization of social supports are low for main informal caregivers of schizophrenia patients. More services and improved public attitudes are needed for schizophrenia patients and their caregivers.