Accessible summary: Family members often support people with intellectual disabilities who display challenging behaviour. Family carers should be listened to and included in important decisions. We asked family carers how professional services had helped their relative with challenging behaviour. Family carers said that the care of people with intellectual disabilities who display challenging behaviour can be improved. Family carers sometimes felt left out of decisions and said that they needed more information. Listening to parent carers' experiences can help to improve the services that are provided to people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
Abstract: Background: There is relatively little published data that report the experiences and views of family carers of people with intellectual disabilities who display challenging behaviour who are prescribed psychotropic medication. Materials and methods: An online structured questionnaire was created by the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, a UK charity, and family carers of people with intellectual disability. Questions concerned the management of challenging behaviour and asked family carers about their experiences and views on the use of psychotropic medication. Responses were gathered between August and October 2016. Results are summarised using descriptive and inferential statistics and descriptive analysis of free‐text comments. Findings: Ninety‐nine family carers completed the survey. Family carers reported gaps in the holistic and proactive management of challenging behaviour. Whilst some felt involved in decisions around psychotropic medication prescribing, others described feeling marginalised and lacking information and influence. The decision to prescribe psychotropic medication evoked complex emotions in family carers and medication use was associated with mixed outcomes in those prescribed. Family carers identified areas of good practice and those areas where they believe improvements are needed. Conclusions: Psychotropic medication should be only one option in a multimodal approach to challenging behaviour, but this may not always be reflected in current practice. Greater effort needs to be made to ensure that services are equipped to provide optimum care and to embed shared decision‐making into routine practice.