An exploration of whether mental health nurses practice in accordance with The Family Model

Anne Grant, Adrian Falkov, Andrea Reupert, Darryl Maybery, Mellinda Goodyear

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Background: The Family Model is increasingly used as a framework to promote a whole family approaches in mental health services. The purpose of this qualitative study was to (i) explore whether nurses practice in accordance with the Model when providing services for parents who have mental illness, (ii) determine whether components of the model are employed more in some workplaces (i.e. acute in-patient units versus community settings) and iii) ascertain reasons as to why this may be the case.
Method: A purposive sample of 14 nurses from eight mental health services in Ireland, completed semi-structured interviews.
Results: Findings indicated that nurses’ practice incorporated most key components of The Family Model, including supporting service users’ dependent children. However, some practices were not explicit in the Model, such as supporting other adult family members (i.e. grandparents). While nurses’ practice in community settings was more aligned with The Family Model than in acute in-patient units, there was a notable absence of reference to domain six (cultural considerations) in both settings. A holistic and family-centered philosophy, coupled with collegial and managerial support and a focus on prevention were the main features that enabled family focused practice in community settings.
Conclusion: As only a subgroup of nurses practice in accordance with The Family Model, efforts are required by nurses, their organisations and the broader system to promote family focused practice. The Family Model may be a useful framework, with further refinement, for guiding nurses’ practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Psychiatric Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2020


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