Measuring the impact of housing on people with schizophrenia

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Browne, G & Courtney, M 2004, 'Measuring the impact of housing on people with schizophrenia', Nursing & Health Sciences, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 37-44.

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Review of the available literature, from various countries, on housing options indicates that, for people with a mental illness, boarding houses are the least desirable type of community accommodation and that living in their own home is the most desirable type of accommodation. The present research project provides a more in-depth examination of people with schizophrenia and the impact of living in their own home compared to living in a boarding house. In this Australian study there were 3231 subjects, 3033 who were living in their own homes and 201 living in boarding house accommodation. The study used two instruments from the Mental Health Classification and Service Cost Project, specifically the Health of the Nation Outcomes Scale, which is a measure of current symptoms, and a shortened version of the Life Skills Profile, which measures global level of functioning. Results indicated that while there were no differences in the level of psychiatric symptoms experienced, people living in boarding houses had less access to social support, meaningful activities and work; they also had a significantly lower level of global functioning. These findings contradict the conventional wisdom that people with schizophrenia resort to living in boarding houses because of their level of disability and highlights an area of potential intervention for community health services.

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