Bäuml, J; Pitschel-Walz, G; Volz, A; Engel, RR; Kessling, W
Psychoeducation in schizophrenia: 7-year follow-up concerning rehospitalization and days in hospital in the Munich Psychosis Information Project Study.
OBJECTIVE: According to most of the relevant guidelines, psychoeducation is considered a basic part of routine therapy for patients with schizophrenia; scientific proofs of its efficacy are based mainly on the results of 1- and 2-year follow-ups. Therefore, the long-term effects of psychoeducation over a period of 7 years were investigated in regard to rehospitalization rates and hospital days. METHOD: Of 101 patients with DSM-III-R or ICD-9 schizophrenia randomly allocated to either an intervention group or a control group between 1990 and 1994, 48 patients were available for follow-up after 7 years. During their index stay, the 24 patients of the intervention group and their key relatives each received a separate psychoeducational group therapy. The 24 patients of the control group received the usual treatment. After index discharge, all 48 patients received a comparable outpatient treatment. Main outcome measures were rehospitalization rate, number of intervening hospital days, compliance, and mean numberof consumed chlorpromazine (CPZ) units. RESULTS: Seven years after index discharge, the rate of rehospitalization was 54% in the intervention group and 88% in the control group. The rate of rehospitalization per patient was 1.5 in the intervention group and 2.9 in the control group (p< .05). In the intervening period, the mean number of hospital days spent in a psychiatric hospital was 75 in the intervention group and 225 days in the control group. (p< .05). The mean number of consumed CPZ units after 7 years was 354 in the intervention and 267 in the control group. CONCLUSIONS: Seven years after psychoeducational group therapy, significant effects on the long-term course of the illness can be found. Therefore, the integration of psychoeducation into standard therapy for schizophrenia should become obligatory.