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Schizophrenia through the carers’ eyes results of a European cross-sectional survey

Schizophrenia carries a significant burden for families providing care. The Adherencia Terapéutica en la Esquizofrenia (ADHES) carers’ survey was designed to assess the opinions of family and friends of patients with schizophrenia across Europe and ascertain their attitudes towards the illness, medication and adherence to medication. A questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey of 138 carers across 16 European countries. Interpretation of results was based on a descriptive comparison of responses.

Carers recognized the importance of medication to help patients get better (76%) and improve their quality of life (76%) and relationships (74%). Sixty-seven per cent believed medication damages general health. Sixty-five per cent reported that treatment adherence was a burden for patients. Thirty-eight per cent indicated that it was a daily struggle to get patients to take their medication. Fifty per cent perceived that medication administered every few weeks rather than daily was quite/very important. Ninety-three per cent agreed on the importance of family support to boost adherence, with education and information deemed important for families and patients. Carers rely less on the patient themselves when assessing adherence than psychiatrists.

The burden faced by carers and patients in taking medication provides an opportunity for healthcare professionals to provide support in a multidisciplinary ‘team’ involving psychiatrists, nurses and carers.

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