There was a study that reviewed all of the current studies on mental illness and the burden the whole family feels by Loukissa (1995). In the abstract of this article it discusses the burden that the caregiver feels and the importance of social support. As nurses when we have patient’s that are diagnosed with a new illness, are admitted for etoh/drug withdrawal, etc; it is our job to look at the family as a whole and make sure that the family has the appropriate resources. We can place a social services consult for them, or just ask the family if they have any needs. I personally see a lot of spouses caring for their elderly spouse and they can barely care for themselves. They usually have kids or grand-kids that check up on them, but insist on taking care of their spouse. This is where we can assess the family as a unit and identify where they need help.
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