Many shortcomings in the care of schizophrenia

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Published 3 October 2022 at 09.33

Domestic. There are large regional differences in the degree to which patients with schizophrenia and schizophrenia-like conditions receive the right support and care. Too few of the country's regions and municipalities follow the recommendations in the national guidelines. This is stated by the National Board of Health and Welfare in a national evaluation of schizophrenia care that is presented today.

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Schizophrenia is the most common diagnosis among all psychotic illnesses and one of the most disabling illnesses in the Western world. In Sweden, it is estimated that 30,000-40,000 people have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and many of these are cared for in closed psychiatric care. The evaluation presented today is based on the update of the national guidelines made in 2018.

In some regions, the recommendations in the national guidelines according to the National Board of Health and Welfare have had an impact, especially concerning, for example, annual health checks and access to medicines. But when it comes to access to coordinated psychosocial interventions from health care and social services, there are several shortcomings in many places. It can be about, for example, access to accommodation support, psycho-pedagogical treatment programmes, support for getting out into working life and studies and the like.

In half of the country's regions, no efforts have been made at a political level to introduce the the national guidelines.

– Yes, it is really too deplorable and shows that the National Board of Health and Welfare's guidelines are not being followed. According to the Health Care Act, care must be offered on equal terms for the entire population and that the quality must be continuously developed and secured. The results of the evaluation clearly show that this is not the case, says Thomas Lindén, head of department at the National Board of Health and Welfare.

Most people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia are aged 18-30 and often already have a medical history of mental illness , such as depression, anxiety and even addiction problems. This means that the people in the group are very fragile and need the right support and care as early as possible – and the evaluation shows that there is a long way to go until all regions in the country can offer this.

– These patients have not always able to push themselves to get access to the right support and care. That accessibility should primarily be ensured for those with the greatest need applies especially to this group, and there are too many shortcomings today, says Thomas Lindén.