Teaching psychiatric inpatients to re-enter the community: a brief method of improving the continuity of care.

San Fernando Mental Health Center, Mission Hills, CA 91345, USA.
Psychiatric Services (Impact Factor: 1.99). 11/1998; 49(10):1313-6. DOI: 10.1176/ps.49.10.1313
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The study evaluated the effects of a brief manualized treatment program that taught patients skills to re-enter the community and actively follow through with their own care.
A total of 59 recently admitted inpatients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were randomly assigned to either the community re-entry program or an equally intensive regimen of occupational therapy. The community re-entry program consisted of eight 45-minute sessions conducted with groups of six to eight patients on a continuous, twice-a-day, four-day-a-week schedule. The effects were measured by a review of the records of aftercare services that patients received in the month after discharge from the inpatient facility. Patients' knowledge and performance of the specific material taught in the community reentry program was ascertained through assessments conducted before and after training.
Results indicated that patients in the community re-entry program significantly improved their knowledge and performance of the skills taught in the sessions, compared with patients in the occupational therapy group. Community re-entry participants were also significantly more likely to attend their first aftercare appointment than were occupational therapy participants (85 percent versus 37 percent).
Not only can patients learn relatively complex material during a brief typical inpatient stay despite the acuteness of their illnesses, but they can also meaningfully improve the continuity of their own care by participating in a brief and highly structured training program. The program fits well within the time and staffing constraints of typical inpatient facilities.

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