|BRIEF RESEARCH COMMUNICATION
|Year : 2013 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 74-76
A prospective cohort study on the role of nonspecialist staff in preventing relapses and improving clinic attendance of patients with schizophrenia
Chaturaka Rodrigo1, Srina Welgama1, Thilina Wijeratne1, Ruvini Weligepola1, Senaka Rajapakse2, Gamini Jayananda1
1 Psychiatry Unit, Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, Sri Lanka
2 Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Background: The Sri Lankan government employs graduates from local universities (trained in nonpsychiatry disciplines) as Mental Health Development Officers (MHDOs) to fulfill the role of a psychiatric social worker.
Materials and Methods: This was a prospective interventional cohort study on preventing relapses of schizophrenia by active involvement of MHDOs. The intervention (randomly selected) and control groups each had 25 follow-up patients with schizophrenia (1:1 match for sex, ethnicity, age, and duration of illness). The intervention was to develop a close liaison with the patient/family and build an individualized client oriented follow-up through the MHDOs. The follow-up period was 1 year.
Results: The intervention group had better clinic attendance, less relapses, and defaults. The number needed to follow-up to avert a relapse or a default was 12.5 and 5 respectively.
Conclusions: Low-cost strategies involving nonspecialist staff can reduce relapses and defaults in patients with schizophrenia.
Psychiatry Unit, Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
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