Purpose: The aim of this study was to estimate the effectiveness of patient education methods on quality of life and functional impairment of patients with schizophrenia.
Methods: A multicentre, randomized controlled trial was carried out in two psychiatric hospitals in Finland from March 2005 to October 2007. A total of 311 patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizotypal disorder or delusional disorder were randomly allocated to computer-based patient education (n = 100), conventional education with standard leaflets (n = 106) and standard treatment (n = 105). Participants were followed up 12 months later. Primary outcome was quality of life (Q-LES-Q-SF) and secondary outcome was functional disability (SDS). Analysis was performed by intention-to-treat. This study is registered, number ISRCTN74919979.
Results: Patients’ global quality of life improved and functional disability decreased significantly in all education groups over the follow-up time. There were no significant differences between groups in these outcomes.
Conclusions: In light of the findings there is no evidence to support a particular education method as the best way to improve patients’ quality of life or improve functional ability. On the other hand, no intervention was found to be harmful. Thus computer-based patient education may be a suitable alternative for some patients. While information technology will be more widely used in societies, computer-based intervention may be beneficial for some patients with serious mental disorders.
Pitkanen A, Valimaki M, Kuosmanen L, Katajisto J, Koivunen M, Hatonen H, Patel A, Knapp M (2012) Patient education methods to support quality of life and functional ability among patients with schizophrenia: a randomised clinical trial, Quality of Life Research, 21, 247–256.