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An Innovative Approach to Clinical Communication in Schizophrenia: The Approaches to Schizophrenia Communication Checklists

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 November 2014


Side effects from antipsychotic medications can have a profound effect on patients' lives and may adversely affect their willingness to comply with treatment. Identification of side effects through improved communication between psychiatrists, other members of the healthcare team, and their patients might increase treatment compliance. The Approaches to Schizophrenia Communication (ASC) Steering Group developed two simple, practical checklists for use in the busy clinical setting. The ASC–Self-Report (ASC-SR) checklist is completed by the patient and comprises a list of the more common or clinically important side effects of antipsychotic treatment. The ASC-Clinic (ASC-C) checklist is completed by both clinician and patient together, being used as the basis for a semi-structured interview. In a multicenter pilot study set up to evaluate the utility of checklists, 86% of patients responding considered the ASC-SR to be useful in communicating their problems to psychiatrists and other members of the healthcare team. All healthcare team respondents found both checklists to be helpful when discussing side effect problems with their patients. Moreover, 41% and 47% of healthcare team respondents reported that the ASC-SR and ASC-C, respectively, had assisted them in identifying side-effect problems not previously acknowledged. Preliminary evaluation of the ASC-SR and ASC-C in this multicenter pilot study suggests that both tools were user-friendly, encouraged communication between patients and healthcare professionals about antipsychotic drug side effects, and could readily integrated into everyday clinical practice.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2001

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