ISSN: 1230-2813
Advances in Psychiatry and Neurology/Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii
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vol. 26
Original paper

Patient’s Clubs – underestimated support programmes

Paweł Bronowski
Katarzyna Chotkowska
Magdalena Rowicka

Adv Psychiatry Neurol 2017; 26 (4): 221-235
Online publish date: 2017/11/21
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Purpose: The article aims to provide a comprehensive characterization of people with schizophrenia using the Patient’s Clubs, with particular consideration of the parameters of the healing process, such as social networks and the level of social relations.

Methods: The study was completed in 2009-2011. It involved patients suffering from schizophrenia, who used the services of such Clubs. The control group were participants of other community treatment programs, who did not benefit from the Clubs. Data were collected, using the Sociodemographic Questionnaire, the Questionnaire of the course of Illness and the Questionnaire of Community Support System, prepared specially for this research, as well as the Bizoń Evaluation of Environmental and Social Support, the Birchwood Social Functioning Scale and the Scale of the General Mental Status Examination GAS.

Results: In comparison with users of other programs, the Clubs participants use their services much longer, i.e. 83 months, on average. They have slightly more numerous social networks than those who do not participate in Clubs. The level of social functioning of patients was also examined. Those benefiting from the support of Clubs achieved higher results in scales ‘exiting isolation’ and ‘self-reliance implemented’. Significant part of the Clubs participants Clubs used at the same time other support programs, first of all the Occupational Therapy Workshops (26%) and the Environmental Self-Help Houses (39%).

Conclusions: Participation in Clubs facilitates a stable and long-term support for people with mental illness experience. It is worth remembering that, when referring patients to such, the participants have great interpersonal potentials social resources to cope well with the symptoms of the disease. This may be an important form of support in returning to independent living. When creating or modifying the Clubs’ programs, we should emphasize on the access to activities associated with natural, and not only institutional forms of social life. Clubs may also become the basis for building a self-help movement of people with mental illness experience.

patient clubs, mental disorders, support program

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