Background: In recent years family psychoeducational treatment progams have received increasing interest regarding the treatment of schizophrenia patients. Several studies on the effectiveness of such treatment for schizophrenia have been conducted, evaluating outcome measures such as relapse rates, compliance with treatment, psychopathology, social functioning and beneficial effects for the relatives.
Aims: The aims of this study was to study the effectiveness of family intervention with psychoeducation in the treatment of schizophrenia through a review of relevant research articles, and to give an estimate of how often this treatment method is used for this group of patients in Norwegian decentralized psychiatric centers.
Method: A structured search for RCT articles on the effectiveness of psychoeducational treatment for schizophrenia patients was performed in PubMed, Embase and Psychinfo, and a questionnaire was sent to all decentralized psychiatric centers in Norway.
Results: Family psychoeducation proved overall to be beneficial in the treatment of schizophrenia, regarding both primary (relapse rates and compliance) and secondary (psychopathology, social functioning, and effects for relatives) outcome measures. Also the cost-benefit of this treatment program was viewed as promising. In Norway, 41% of the psychiatric centers used multi family psychoeducational groups, and 64% used psychoeducation for single families.
Conclusions: Although a substantial proportion of the centers reported to use family psychoeducation in some form, there might be room for increased usage of the multi family group model, as this seems to be cost effective and has the advantage of creating positive networks among families of schizophrenia patients, as demonstrated in this review.