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Background: It has been estimated that as many as two thirds of patients with schizophrenia are unable to perform basic personal and social roles or activities. Occupational functioning and social functioning, as well as independent living, are considered as core domains of patient functioning. Improvement in patient functioning has also been recognized as an important treatment goal in guidelines and an important outcome by regulatory agencies. Nevertheless, information is lacking on how these aspects are being considered by psychiatrists across the world and how they are being assessed and managed.Methods: The 'Europe, the Middle East and Africa functioning survey' was designed to canvas opinions of psychiatrists across these regions to ascertain their perceptions of the clinical importance, assessment and management of functioning amongst their patients with schizophrenia. The survey comprised 17 questions and was conducted from March to April 2011 in 42 countries. Data collected included the demographics of respondents and their opinions regarding personal and social functioning in patients with schizophrenia.Results: Results were obtained from 4,163 clinicians. Psychiatrists estimated that more than two thirds (70%) of their patients with schizophrenia showed impaired or very poor levels of functioning. The majority of psychiatrists (92%) believed that personal and social functioning was an important treatment goal for patients with schizophrenia, and 91% believed it was an important goal for patients' families. The majority of psychiatrists (55%) assess the personal and social functioning of their patient at each visit; however, 81% reported that they determine the level of functioning through clinical interview and not by using a specific assessment scale. To manage personal and social functioning in their patients, 26% of psychiatrists prefer pharmacological interventions, whereas 46% prefer psychosocial interventions.Conclusion: Psychiatrists recognize that functioning is impaired/very poor in patients with schizophrenia, and there is still an important need to address functioning as a main treatment goal for patients with schizophrenia. © 2013 Gorwood et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Original publication

DOI

10.1186/1744-859X-12-8

Type

Journal article

Journal

Annals of General Psychiatry

Publication Date

26/03/2013

Volume

12