Communication of a schizophrenia diagnosis: A qualitative study of patients’ perspectives.

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Communication of a schizophrenia diagnosis: A qualitative study of patients' perspectives.

Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2015 Apr 1;

Authors: Loughland C, Cheng K, Harris G, Kelly B, Cohen M, Sandhu H, Varmos M, Levin TT, Bylund C, Landa Y, Outram S

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Transparent diagnostic communication is considered best practice for clinicians. However, while patients expect to receive a schizophrenia diagnosis from their psychiatrist, research suggests mental health clinicians are often reluctant to provide this information to patients.
AIM: This study examines the perceptions of people with schizophrenia surrounding the communication of this diagnosis.
METHODS: A generic qualitative methodological approach was used. A total of 14 patients with schizophrenia were recruited through community mental health services (n = 10) and the Australia Schizophrenia Research Bank (ASRB; n = 4) in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore the experiences and perceptions of people with schizophrenia about the way a schizophrenia diagnosis was communicated by mental health clinicians. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, codes generated and thematic analysis undertaken aided by NVivo.
RESULTS: The majority of participants felt it was beneficial to receive a diagnosis despite acknowledging the distress this information sometimes caused, with many reporting this knowledge gave a sense of relief. It helped to understand their experiences and behaviours, improved their trust in the psychiatric system and increased treatment adherence. However, many reported difficulty in obtaining information about their condition, its treatment and prognosis, and expressed dissatisfaction with the way a diagnosis of schizophrenia was communicated.
DISCUSSION: Insight into the perceptions and experiences of patients with schizophrenia about how a diagnosis of schizophrenia is communicated is a key outcome of this research. This knowledge will inform the development of future training programmes for mental health clinicians, and influence the clinical practice of health professionals treating patients with schizophrenia.

PMID: 25834281 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]