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Patient’s involvement crucial for successful rehabilitation with severe mental illness

Published: 29th March 2021 Last updated: 29th March 2021

Active and meaningful participation in society is of great importance for the recovery, health and quality of life of people with severe mental illness. However, rehabilitation is often difficult. Given the diversity within this group, tailor-made guidance is necessary. The most important success factor in promoting social participation is that the patient feels heard and helps to determine which goals to achieve. Within mental health care there must be sufficient time and space to devote attention to this. Caregivers need to develop a purposeful working relationship with patients. This is a particular concern for the most vulnerable group with many symptoms and few activities.

This is according to PhD research by Sarita Sanches (Tilburg University/Tranzo and Altrecht GGZ). She analyzed which factors play a role in the social participation of people with severe mental illness and which factors determine the achievement of goals in this area. The analysis of over 1,000 patients shows that four subgroups can be distinguished based on their actual degree of participation and need for care in this area. Each subgroup has its own distinctive challenges, which underlines the need for tailor-made assistance. Most decisive for achieving rehabilitation goals and a better quality of life is the extent to which patient and care provider reached a joint agreement on the goals to be achieved.

The study also looked at 188 participants for the cost-effectiveness of the Boston University Approach to Psychiatric Rehabilitation (BPR) as a method to improve the social participation of people with severe mental illness. This method had a positive effect; almost half of the patients (43%) had a higher degree of social participation than before the treatment. However, this applied to the same extent for the control group of people who received active assistance towards their goals without applying a specific methodology. This percentage is much higher than that reported in observational studies in which no help with social participation was offered. previous work experience and fewer psychiatric symptoms turned out to be better predictors of social participation than the applied method.

Note for the press

Note for the press