Original Research

Nurses’ perceptions of involving family members in the care of mental health care users

Nkhensani F. Mabunda
Curationis | Vol 47, No 1 | a2538 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v47i1.2538 | © 2024 Nkhensani F. Mabunda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 August 2023 | Published: 05 July 2024

About the author(s)

Nkhensani F. Mabunda, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Care Sciences, Sefako Makgatho Health Science University, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: Family involvement in mental health care is a therapeutic intervention in the management of mental illness. The global concern in long-term mental health is that families find it difficult to accept mental illness when their loved ones are admitted to receive care, treatment and rehabilitation.

Objectives: To describe nurses’ perceptions of involving family members in the care of mental health care users in long-term institutions.

Method: A quantitative descriptive design was used. The population comprised nurses working at three mental health institutions (MHIs). Probability simple random sampling was used to select 360 respondents. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaires.

Results: The findings revealed that most (86.9%) of the nurses acknowledged that challenges affect families’ involvement in mental health care. A total of 91.4% of nurses complained that family members’ involvement was insufficient and (80.6%) indicated that poor family contact affects the provision of quality mental health care. Therefore, the respondents believed that the families’ involvement has an impact on the management of mental illness.

Conclusion: Engaging family members in mental health care helps both health professionals and families to participate in patient-centred care and mental health care services. However, MHCUs benefit when their families are involved.

Contribution: The study contributed to mental health nursing as its results can be used to measure the quality of health services improvements, by involving the family members during hospitalisation of their loved ones for mental health care.


family involvement; long-term mental health care; management of psychiatric patients; mental illness recovery; psychiatric practice

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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