Outcome Evaluation Patient Education

© Education of the patient and family regarding the benefits and risks of antipsychotic medications and the importance of adherence to their therapeutic regimens must be integrated into pharmacologic management. Too often, patients receive little education about schizophrenia and may not have a good understanding of their diagnosis. Meetings for purposes of medication management offer an opportunity to provide some education on the general illness. Discuss the nature and course of schizophrenia and be prepared to accept that the patient might have a different understanding of the nature of his or her illness. Key points to cover include:

• Involve families in the education and treatment plans, since family psychoeducation may decrease relapse, improve symptomatology, and enhance psychosocial and family outcomes.4

• Be clear that there is no cure for schizophrenia and that medications only help to decrease the symptoms.

• Explain common side effects of medications.

• Discuss rare but dangerous side effects that may also occur.

• Stress the importance of medication and treatment adherence for improving long-term outcomes in schizophrenia.

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