Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2024 Jan 3:207640231221094. doi: 10.1177/00207640231221094. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Severe Mental Disorders (SMDs) cause mental health worldwide challenges because of several relapses and extensive recovery periods of hospitalization, which put a lot of economic and social burden on families and governments. Therefore, interventions are necessary to decrease the relapse of these disorders.
AIM: This study was conducted to investigate the effect of Information Technology Assisted Relapse Prevention Program (ITAREP) on relapse among people who live with SMDs.
METHOD: This study was a randomized clinical trial with intervention and control groups. ITAREP is a remote intervention based on monitoring the Early Warning Signs (EWS) to decrease the number of potential relapses. Using convenience sampling, people with SMDs admitted to Sina Juneqan Psychiatric Hospital and their caregivers were recruited in this study and randomly allocated to the control and intervention groups. Two checklists of the EWS for the patient and the patient’s caregiver were used for monitoring the relapse signs. Data were collected at baseline and 90 days after discharge and were analyzed using t-test and Chi-square statistical tests and linear regression in SPSS software.
RESULTS: Fifty-two patients who lived with SMDs participated in this study (26 in the intervention group and 26 in the control group). The two groups were homogeneous regarding age, gender, type of mental disorder, and duration of the disorder. Forty-two males and ten females participated in this research. Most of the participants were diagnosed with schizophrenia. The results showed that the number of relapses in the intervention group was significantly lower than in the control group in the post-test.
CONCLUSION: Social workers, as the case managers and a member of the interdisciplinary psychiatric team, can actively perform follow-up measures after discharge using ITAREP, and it can be expected that these interventions will reduce the number of relapses among patients who live with SMDs.