Lived experiences of caring for a family member with schizophrenia
The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological research study was to describe, and construct, through understanding, how family caregivers have survived and sustained while caring for their family member diagnosed with schizophrenia. The study was based on seventeen audio-taped interviews with purposively selected caregivers of family members with schizophrenia. The philosophical underpinnings of Ricoeur guided the researcher from transcribed texts of interviews to the interpretation of the actual lived and human experience of caring for a family member diagnosed with schizophrenia. Insight was needed into those factors that foster certain caregiver's ability to defy the odds in surviving and sustaining while committing the patient in times of crisis, quality of resources, medication management, and violent and bizarre behavior. Transcripts were analyzed for common themes, differences, and patterns using a methodology inspired by the theoretical context of Ricoeur. The use of this method provided the researcher with congruence between the guiding framework for the study and the method used to analyze the data. The analysis resulted in four dichotomous themes: Beginning/Settling In; Getting Through the Day; Disruption; Isolation/Inclusion; Frustration/Satisfaction and two overarching themes, Surviving and Sustainability.