Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Early Psychosis Program in Washington State Shows Promise

People with first-episode psychosis (FEP) who received services through a coordinated specialty care program in Washington state called New Journeys experienced significant improvements in symptoms and quality of life after 12 months, according to a report in Psychiatric Services in Advance.

Coordinated specialty care involves a team of specialists who work with patients with FEP to create a treatment plan that may include psychotherapy, medication management, family education and support, case management, and work or education support. Coordinated specialty care was specifically designed for patients with FEP and was tested and found successful in the National Institute of Mental Health’s Recovery After Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) study.

The current study by Oladunni Oluwoye, Ph.D., of Washington State University and colleagues included 112 patients aged 18 to 40 diagnosed with psychosis. The patients and their clinicians answered questionnaires at intake and for the first 12 months of treatment about the patients’ anxiety and psychotic symptoms, quality of life, and substance use. Educational status was determined at intake and was reassessed monthly. Administrative data were used to assess use of emergency department, community psychiatric services, and public assistance 24 months before and 24 months after intake.

Patients in the program had significant decreases in symptoms of anxiety, psychotic experiences, and clinician-rated psychotic symptoms after 12 months. The patients reported better quality of life and were more likely to be attending school in the first 12 months of the program than at intake. They were less likely to visit the emergency department, use community psychiatric inpatient services, or use state-funded public assistance compared with 24 months before intake. There were no changes in patients’ substance use or employment status during their first year in the program.

“On the basis of the initial successes of New Journeys in addressing psychiatric symptoms and functional recovery, recent legislature has been passed promoting the rapid expansion of New Journeys in Washington State,” Oluwoye and colleagues wrote. “As more community mental health clinics adopt early intervention programs for FEP, additional efforts focusing on substance use behaviors, general health, peer engagement, and measurement-based care are needed.”

For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “Evidence Supporting Early Psychosis Treatment Grows as Programs Gain Ground in Communities.”

(Image: iStock/SDI Productions)

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