Published on October 6th, 2016 | from CAMH Education
Portico Preview: Strategies for families supporting people with schizophrenia
Our colleagues at Portico are excited about an upcoming release developed in partnership with CAMH’s Dr. Sean Kidd. This new guide is intended to give families practical strategies to support people living with schizophrenia. We asked them for a preview of the project.
New CAT guide will support families of people with schizophrenia to pursue work, school and leisure
Families of people with schizophrenia often struggle with helping their loved one to really engage in life—to be able to work, study, enjoy their leisure time and have meaningful relationships.
It’s these day-to-day activities that can sometimes be the greatest challenge, says Dr. Sean Kidd, a clinician-scientist in the Complex Care and Recovery program at CAMH.
But now, with a manual and accompanying educational videos slated for release in early 2017, families of people with schizophrenia will be able to access what is termed “environmental supports” or in-home strategies to support their relative in those first steps of recovery. Supports can be anything from reminder signs to calendars, checklists, alarms or other simple devices placed strategically around the home to help them remember and follow through on various daily routines.
Dr. Kidd and his team recognized that they could empower family members to implement these same strategies directly with their loved one in the home.
These strategies are based on an intervention called Cognitive Adaptation Training, or CAT for short, that help people to get around the cognitive challenges associated with schizophrenia—difficulties with thinking clearly, remembering things, getting distracted and having trouble finding the energy to follow through on activities.
The manual has been generated with intensive input from families—both those supporting and those being supported. It is based on a CAT intervention originally developed by Dawn Velligan and Natalie Naples in San Antonia, Texas. Although Velligan and Naples originally established CAT for clinicians to work with people with schizophrenia, Dr. Kidd and his team recognized that—with some refinement of their approach—they could empower family members to implement these same strategies directly with their loved one in the home. The videos that will accompany the manual—and also be available online—include several role-plays between a sister and brother, and between a mother and son—as they enact the strategies in their homes.
This CAMH manual and videos incorporate recommendations from a pilot study of a family CAT guide for people with schizophrenia, which were published in an article in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal in August. In this study, caregivers expressed the need for more “talk about plans and planning”—in terms of finding ways to really engage the person being supported to commit to the project, and described the “juicy bits” as being the specific strategies or suggestions for providing support in the home. They also described the importance of having a DVD to demonstrate the strategies.
Join a mailing list for this release, email email@example.com.