Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 55  |  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

1 Psychiatry Unit, Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, Sri Lanka
2 Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Correspondence Address:
Chaturaka Rodrigo
Psychiatry Unit, Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura
Sri Lanka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.105518

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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.



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