Family-focused practice (FFP) is an effective approach to supporting individuals with mental illness. 'Recovery' is also central to contemporary mental health care. However, there is a dearth of evidence about how the two concepts are related and subsequently implemented in practice. The aim of this study was to explore practitioners' understandings and practices of FFP within a recovery framework.
Purposive/snowball sampling was used to recruit and conduct qualitative interviews with 11 mental health practitioners in rural Australia. Concurrent sampling and data collection were informed by thematic analysis and continued until data saturation was reached.
Participants found it difficult to articulate their understandings of FFP within a recovery framework. Nonetheless they were able to describe practices that embodied family-focused recovery. Barriers to such practices included medical models of care, where there are often a shortage of skilled staff and high demands for care. Stigma (self and from others) and confidentiality were also identified as barriers to involving family members in recovery focused care.
Family-focused recovery care is a priority in many high-income countries. A family-focused recovery framework is needed to assist service planners, practitioners, family members and those with mental health needs and ensure such care is embedded within practice guidelines.