Former Patients' and Families' Perceptions of Environmental Factors in the Home that Impact on the Care of Suicidal Ex-Patients in East Taiwan

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 1:45 PM

Fan-Ko Sun, PhD
Department of Nursing, I-Shou University, Yanchao Township, Taiwan
Ann Long, PhD
School of Nursing, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, United Kingdom
Chen-Ju Ko, MSc
Nursing, Tzu Chi College of Technology, Hualien, Taiwan
Shing-Ling Chang, BS
Nursing, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Hualien, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: Learners will gain knowledge on ex-patients’ and family caregivers’ opinions regarding the home environment factors in the care of suicidal ex-patients in Eastern Taiwan.

Learning Objective 2: Learners will gain knowledge on what factors ‘effects of caring’ and what factors ‘barriers to caring’ to caring for people at risk of suicide.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to explore suicidal ex-patients’ and their family caregivers’ perceptions of the home environment (the context) and the provision of care in the home (the intervening conditions) in East Taiwan. Methods: A grounded theory approach was used. Data were collected in two large hospitals from January 2007 until June 2008. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with patients (n=15) and family caregivers (n=15). Patients had just been discharged from hospitals following a suicide attempt. Data were analyzed using open, axial and selective coding.

Results: A substantive theory was developed, which families could use to guide them in the care of their relatives who are at risk of suicide. This paper reports the findings related to the ‘context’ and ‘intervening conditions’ sections of the Strauss and Corbin’s (1997) paradigm model used in this study. Two categories emerged in the ‘context’ section: (1) ‘the family environment’ and (2) ‘the Chinese culture.’ Two categories surfaced in the ‘intervening condition’ element: (1) ‘positive effects on caring’ and (2) ‘barriers to caring’. Findings revealed that when there was poverty in the family, more strain was placed on the caregivers and their relatives experienced difficulty with recovering. The Chinese culture impacted on caring as suicide is deemed as a stigma. Support systems, the families’ coping strategies and patients’ motivation to self-recover emerged as positive effects on caring while lack of support systems, lack of knowledge about what constitutes ‘caring’, and families’ caring abilities were barriers to caring. Conclusion: Family caregivers have a pivotal role in caring for their suicidal relatives following discharge from hospital. It is imperative that they receive knowledge on how to care for their relatives at home as well as information on support systems, positive coping strategies and facilitating motivation to enable their relatives to recover and heal.