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Family-focused practice improves outcomes for families where parents have a mental illness. However, there is limited understanding regarding the factors that predict and enable these practices. This study aimed to identify factors that predict and enable mental health nurses' family-focused practice. A sequential mixed methods design was used. A total of 343 mental health nurses, practicing in 12 mental health services (in acute inpatient and community settings), throughout Ireland completed the Family Focused Mental Health Practice Questionnaire, measuring family-focused behaviours and other factors that impact family-focused activities. Hierarchical multiple regression identified 14 predictors of family-focused practice. The most important predictors noted were nurses' skill and knowledge, own parenting experience, and work setting (i.e. community). Fourteen nurses, who achieved high scores on the questionnaire, subsequently participated in semistructured interviews to elaborate on enablers of family-focused practice. Participants described drawing on their parenting experiences to normalize parenting challenges, encouraging service users to disclose parenting concerns, and promoting trust. The opportunity to visit a service user's home allowed them to observe how the parent was coping and forge a close relationship with them. Nurses' personal characteristics and work setting are key factors in determining family-focused practice. This study extends current research by clearly highlighting predictors of family-focused practice and reporting how various enablers promoted family-focused practice. The capacity of nurses to support families has training, organizational and policy implications within adult mental health services in Ireland and elsewhere.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: International journal of mental health nursing
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Nurses whose goal is to improve health and quality of life in a population or community through the prevention and treatment of disease and other physical and mental health conditions, the surveillance of cases and health indicators, and the promotion of healthy behaviors through public education and awareness.
Professionals qualified by education at an accredited school of nursing and licensed by state law to practice nursing. They provide services to patients requiring assistance in recovering or maintaining their physical or mental health.
Nurses whose work combines elements of both primary care nursing and public health practice and takes place primarily outside the therapeutic institution. Primary nursing care is directed to individuals, families, or groups in their natural settings within communities.
Voluntary organizations which support educational programs and research in psychiatry with the objective of the promotion of mental health. An early association in the United States was founded as the National Committee for Mental Hygiene in 1909, became the Mental Health Association in 1976 and later the National Mental Health Association in 1980. State and local mental health associations in this country are chartered by the national organization and affiliated with it.
The diagnosis and treatment of human responses of individuals and groups to actual or potential health problems with the characteristics of altered functional ability and altered life-style. (American Nurses Association & Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. Standards of Rehabilitation Nursing Practice, 1986, p.2)
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