What Is Known on the Subject: Family members and friends (informal carers) are very important for providing support to people with mental health difficulties. When these carers are included to care planning patients seem to benefit, as they are less likely to relapse.; What the Paper Adds to Existing Knowledge: There are three types of interventions including carers in the patients'transition 1) programmes that offer education in hospital; 2) programmes that involve carers in planning the patients discharge; and 3) programmes that involve carers in hospital care, discharge planning and also follow-up in the community. Interventions including carers that take place both in the hospital and the community have the clearest evidence for benefit on relapse reduction.; What Are the Implications for Practice: Comprehensive interventions have the best evidence for effectiveness but challenges in their implementation and resourcing should be considered. It might worth trying to identify and test simpler interventions focusing on discharge planning that can be used in busy services and require more limited resources whilst providing opportunities for the participation of carers.;
Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Involving informal carers (family and friends of patients) in mental health interventions can lead to positive clinical and psychosocial outcomes such as relapse prevention or treatment adherence.; Aim/question: To explore the evidence on the effectiveness of different models that involve carers in the transition between hospital and community mental health care.; Methods: Five electronic databases (PsycINFO, CINAHL, MEDLINE, Embase and Scopus) and Grey literature (Open Grey and Grey Literature report) were systematically searched. The results were analysed using a narrative synthesis.; Results: Fourteen papers were identified. They described twelve interventions that were categorized into three groups: 1) purely educational programmes in preparation of discharge; 2) programmes that involved carers in planning the transition from the mental health inpatient treatment to community mental health services; and 3) programmes that bridged into the aftercare involving carers in community follow-up. The most comprehensive interventions, i.e. those including psychoeducation, care planning and aftercare follow-up were better evaluated and showed a clearer benefit in improving long-term outcomes and, in particular, reduce re-hospitalization.; Implications for Practice: Comprehensive interventions showed the clearest benefit in improving long-term clinical outcomes of patients. Future research should explore implementation, costs and cost-effectiveness, as comprehensive interventions delivered across different settings are likely to require wide-ranging organizational changes and significant resources.