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To evaluate the quality of mental health care delivered to patients with schizophrenia and related disorders taken-in-care by mental health services in four Italian regions (Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Sicily).
Thirty-one clinical indicators concerning accessibility, appropriateness, continuity and safety were defined and estimated using healthcare utilisation (HCU) databases, containing data on mental health treatments, hospital admissions, outpatient interventions, lab tests and drug prescriptions.
A total of 70 586 prevalent patients with schizophrenia and related disorders treated in 2015 were identified, of whom 1752 were newly taken-in-care by the facilities of regional mental health services. For most patients community care was accessible and moderately intensive. However, care pathways were not implemented based on a structured assessment and only half of the patients received psychosocial treatments. One patient out of ten had access to psychological interventions and psychoeducation. Activities specifically addressed to families involved a third of prevalent patients and less than half of new patients. One patient out of six was admitted to a community residential facility, and one out of ten to a General Hospital Psychiatric Ward (GHPW); higher values were identified in new cases. In general hospitals, few patients had a length of stay (LoS) of more than 30 days, while one-fifth of the admissions were followed by readmission within 30 days of discharge. For two-thirds of patients, continuity of community care was met, and six times out of ten a discharge from a GHPW was followed by an outpatient contact within 2 weeks. For cases newly taken-in-care, the continuity of community care was uncommon, while the readiness of outpatient contacts after discharge was slightly more frequent. Most of the patients received antipsychotic medication, but their adherence to long-term treatment was low. Antipsychotic polytherapy was frequent and the control of metabolic side effects was poor. The variability between regions was high and consistent in all the quality domains.
The Italian mental health system could be improved by increasing the accessibility to psychosocial interventions, improving the quality of care for newly taken-in-care patients, focusing on somatic health and mortality, and reducing regional variability. Clinical indicators demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of the mental health system in these regions, and, as HCU databases, they could be useful tools in the routine assessment of mental healthcare quality at regional and national levels.
Aims – To start a process of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) in an Italian Community Mental Health Service by using a quality assurance questionnaire in a self audit exercise. Methods – The questionnaire was administered to 14 key workers and clinical managers with different roles and seniority. One senior manager's evaluation was used as a benchmark for all the others. Changes were introduced in the service practice according to what emerged from the evaluation. Meetings were scheduled to monitor those changes and renew the CQI process. Results – There was a wide difference in the key workers' answers. Overall, the senior manager's evaluation was on the 60th percentile of the distribution of the other evaluations. Those areas that required prompt intervention were risk management, personnel development, and CQI. The CQI process was followed up for one year: some interventions were carried out to change the practice of the service. Conclusions – A self audit exercise in Community Mental Health Services was both feasible and useful. The CQI process was easier to start than to carry on over the long term.
Aims – To evaluate the quality of psychiatric care in Italian community-based services and the discrepancy between real practices and NICE recommendations for the treatment of schizophrenia concerning the elements common to all phases of care and the first episode of psychosis. Methods – Data concerning 14 indicators on common aspects of care in all phases and 11 indicators concerning psychosis onset, drawn from NICE Recommendations, were collected in 19 Departments of Mental Health. Results – An optimistic attitude seems to prevail in the staff in all phases of care, while remarkable discrepancies between service practice and recommendations have been found in relation to systematic assessment, availability of informative leaflets and support to relatives. Concerning the treatment of first episode, a lack of specific services and differentiated activities, and paucity of practices based on specific guidelines has been detected. However, Italian community based services proved to have a good capacity to provide help quickly to those seeking help for a psychotic onset, to maintain regular contact with them in the subsequent year, and provide pharmacological treatment reasonably in line with the scientific evidence. Instead, little specific support is provided to the relatives. Conclusions – The results show critical points concerning capacity of assessment and treatment standardization, in all aspects of care and specifically in the treatment for the first episode. Differentiation of activities specifically dedicated to the patients at their first episode should be promoted as well as strategies to support relatives in a more specific way.
Care for people with schizophrenia should address a wide range of outcomes, including professional and consumer perspectives.
To measure changes in psychopathology functioning, needs for care and quality of life; to develop predictive models for each outcome domain; and to assess the frequency of ‘good'and ‘poor’ outcomes, as defined in a series of different definitions that use combinations of the four domains measured.
Three-year follow-up of a 1-year-treated prevalence cohort of 107 patients with an ICD–10 diagnosis of schizophrenia attending the South Verona community-based mental health service.
Mean symptom severity and some types of needs for care worsen, but quality of life shows no change. Functioning shows a non-significant trend to deteriorate. Between 32% and 42% of the variance in the four key outcomes was explained by our model. Different definitions of good'and ‘poor’ outcome included 0–31% of patients, depending on the definition used.
The 3-year outcome for schizophrenia depends on the domain of outcome used, whether staff or patient ratings are used and the stringency of the definitions used for good and poor outcome.
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