Professional and Consumer Collaboration

Lundwall (1996) reported on an innovative approach that combines psychoeducation, support, and familial empowerment. The psychoeducational group is initially led by professionals and later is turned over to family members with the staff remaining in a case management or supportive role. Initially, the professional leads the rehabilitation process by providing psychoeducation, concrete guidelines, and coordination of service. Later, the leadership of the group is turned over to family members who have been empowered to lead their own group. The professional(s) continues in an advocacy, liaison, and service coordination role. The combination of education and support, followed by the assumption of leadership by family members, serves to increase the confidence of family members and, it is hoped, improve their ability to care for familial needs. In addition, the coordination of services helps meet the many needs of consumers and families. Families are supported in the experience of "grief' and "loss" of the ill family member. Also, the group empowers family members to help create positive changes in the service systems.

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