Educating acute inpatients about their medication: Is it worth it? An exploratory study of group education for patients on a psychiatric intensive care unit
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Background: Anti-psychotic drugs are the cornerstone of the management of psychotic disorders but despite their ubiquity in clinical practice, many psychiatric patients lack knowledge about the medication that is prescribed to them. Education for out-patients does improve knowledge but these patients are relatively stable. In response to calls from users on a psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU), a medication education group was provided. Aims: To explore the effectiveness of a medication education group on knowledge about drug treatment, insight and treatment adherence. Method: Fifteen patients with psychotic disorders according to DSM-111-R criteria recruited from a psychiatric intensive care unit, received two sessions of medication education. Changes post education were compared to 15 comparison patients, who did not attend a medication education group but were individually matched for primary treatment team, age, sex, number of admissions and length of illness. Results: The experimental group improved significantly over time compared with the comparison group on knowledge about drug treatment. Sessions of education also led to an increase in insight, but there were no effects on compliance or attitudinal/behavioural factors that influence medication compliance. Symptom change did not account for the improved knowledge. Conclusions: Group education on drug issues was successful in increasing knowledge of medication and insight even in an acutely ill group. Declaration of interest: TW occasional sponsorship to conference and lectures for a variety of pharmaceutical companies.
Journal of Mental health