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Long-term effects of a rehabilitation program on the clinical outcomes, social functionality, and life quality of schizophrenic patients-a follow-up study

Mehtap Arslan, Ayla Yazıcı, Tülay Yılmaz, Sibel Coşkun, Erhan Kurt.

Objective: Schizophrenia is a severe brain disease which leads to progressive clinical, cognitive, social, and vocational deterioration. The results of a meta-analysis of studies from more than 100 years showed that the progress and outcomes of schizophrenia remain poor. However, evidence-based strategies combining pharmacological and psychosocial treatments have obtained promising results and increased expectations regarding the outcome of schizophrenia. This study examined the effects of a multimodal, psychosocial intervention program for schizophrenic patients at the end of the program and three years later. Methods: The study involved 60 patients between 18 and 65 years old who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia but had not participated in a multimodal, psychosocial intervention program. At the beginning of, end of, and three years after the six-month program, all patients were assessed with the Bakırköy Rehabilitation Form for Patient with Chronic Mental Illness, Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, Morisky’s Questions-Self-Report Measure of Adherence, Quality of Life Scale, Insight into the Three Components of the Evaluation Scale, Social Functioning Scale, and Disability Assessment Schedule. The three sets of measurements were compared to each other. Findings: In the end-of-program and third-year measurements, the severity of the symptoms had statistically and significantly decreased compared to measurements made before the program. As well, the frequency of hospitalizations decreased, while adherence to treatment, insight level, social functionality, and quality of life increased. Discussion: The structured psychosocial interventions used throughout the program were found to increase patients’ insight level and adherence to treatment, which resulted in decreased severity of symptoms and frequency of hospitalizations. Recovery from negative symptoms, which the literature shows to be the most important causes of decreased social and professional functionality, could explain the increase in the scale scores measuring social functionality and quality of life. Likely also contributing to this result was the intense use of techniques in such areas as independent living skills, interpersonal relations, daily life activities, and social affairs and behaviors. Results: The results of this study are important. They show that the applied program is effective and that its positive effects lasted three years after it ended. This program can serve as a model for the community mental health centers opening during the transition to and establishment of a community-based psychiatric system in Turkey.

Key words: schizophrenia, psychosocial interventions, functionality

Article Language: Turkish English

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