Factors causing the rejection of state patients by their families and relatives and the effects of the rejection on the patient

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The process of rehabilitating State Patients requires that they go out on leave of absence (LOA), once their psychiatric condition has settled to spend time with their families away from the hospital environment. The cooperation of the family or relatives is crucial as the patient is going to need supervision while he is at home. The family therefore should be prepared to accept him. The research was conducted at Valkenberg Hospital in the Western Cape. A qualitative approach was used to explore and describe the factors that cause the rejection of State Patients by their families and relatives and the effects of the rejection on the patient. A random sample was drawn from patients who are currently occupying beds in the forensic wards at Valkenberg Hospital, and have not been out on leave for at least one year and above. Ten patients were selected and relatives of these patients were interviewed. Emergent findings were that relatives were not willing to accept the patients because of lack of knowledge and understanding of the illness and also out of the fear of not knowing if and when the patient will re-offend. Substance abuse and aggression emerged as the main factors that families were struggling with and a high percentage of the respondents mentioned these as major difficulties for them. The patients who were interviewed appeared to be struggling with expressing their feelings, and could not articulate how the rejection affected their mental state or whether it affected them at all.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 78-82).