Schizophrenia Companion Guide II – Continuity of Care
GAMIAN-Europe produced the Schizophrenia Companion Guide in 2016 as a tool for mental health patients, their families and their carers to understand schizophrenia, its symptoms and treatments. The guide is an essential document that explains the condition in a clear and understandable language.
The Guide was introduced during the ECNP Congress in Vienna in 2016 and was shared during the Schizophrenia Patient Organisation Advisory Board Meeting held on 8-9 of June 2017 in Leuven, Belgium.
We have distributed the guide through our social media platform with great results: there were more than one thousand impressions on Twitter during the 2017 Schizophrenia Day.
Need for a health guide for people with schizophrenia
Many guides on schizophrenia are already available in many countries and in many languages, a few developed in partnership with patient organizations. An overview prepared for Otsuka and Lundbeck by Havas Just (April 2018), Schizophrenia and Psychosis Care and Treatment Planning Resource, identifies resources in 5 countries. Many of these identified resources offer excellent information on early signs, symptoms and treatments for patients and carers, treatment guidelines for clinicians, and quality standards for services.
Absent are guides that focus on the broader health consequences of schizophrenia, particularly the potential effects on the physical health of patients. Life expectancy of people with schizophrenia is severely shortened as compared to the general population, by as much as 20 years. The main cause of early death is not the mental disorder, but physical conditions such as cardio-vascular disease, cancers and diabetes. This can be attributed to lifestyle challenges such as high levels of smoking, poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise, interacting with the effects of psycho-tropic medication. Many of these deaths would be preventable by a combination of indicated health promotion and the detection of early symptoms, and the provision of good quality care by the health system, respecting the right to parity of care.
In this project, a follow-up guide was developed under the coordination of GAMIAN-Europe and in cooperation with EUFAMI, in partnership with organizations including the European Psychiatric Association (EPA), European Federation of Psychological Associations, and HORATIO, the European Nursing Association. A steering group was formed to supervise the content of the guide. A survey was also conducted to include the personal perspectives of patients and their carers.