Background: Coercion can cause harm to both the patient and the patient’s family. Few studies have examined how the coercive treatment of a close relative might affect young next-of-kin. Research questions: We aimed to investigate the views and experiences of child-responsible staff (CRS) in relation to the needs of young next-of-kin in coercive situations and to identify ethical challenges. Research design: We conducted a qualitative study based on semistructured, focus group interviews and one individual interview. Participants and research context: We held three focus group interviews with six to seven CRS in each group (a total of 20 participants) and one individual interview with a family therapist. The participants were recruited from three hospital trusts in Eastern Norway. Ethical considerations: The study was approved by the National Data Protection Official for Research and based upon informed consent and confidentiality. Findings: Coercion was not a theme among the participants in relation to their work with young next-of-kin, and there was much uncertainty related to whether these young people need special support to deal with the coercive treatment of their close relative. Despite the uncertainty, the study indicated a need for more information and emotional support among the youth. Discussion: Few studies have addressed the potential impact of coercive treatment of a close family member on young next-of-kin. The findings were consistent with existing research but highlighted disagreement and uncertainty among the CRS about to what extent the young next-of-kin should visit and whether they should enter the ward unit or not. We identified ethical challenges for the CRS related to the principle of not inflicting harm (nonmaleficence). Conclusion: From the perspective of CRS it appears that the coercive treatment of a close family member entails a need for extra support of young relatives both in relation to information and the facilitation of visits, but more systematic knowledge about these issues is needed.
Permanent URL (for citation purposes)