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Cognitive screening and behavioural observation of functional ability in patients with multiple episode schizophrenia: an exploratory study.

Journal article
Authors Eva Norlin-Bagge
Eva Esbjörnsson
Katharina S Sunnerhagen
Published in BMJ Open
Volume 7
Issue 6
ISSN 2044-6055
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Language en
Keywords Schizophrenia; cognition; functional ability; measurement
Subject categories Psychiatry


OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the usability of a neuropsychological screening instrument and two observation scales of everyday behaviour to describe cognitive and functional capacity of patients with multiepisode schizophrenia and considerable care needs, who frequently refuse to participate in cognitive testing or performance-based functional measurement. SETTING: One psychiatric unit specialised in severe mental illness at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden. PARTICIPANTS: Patients were included consecutively from date of admission to the unit. INCLUSION CRITERIA: age 18-65 years, International Classification of Diseases 10 diagnoses F20.0-F20.9 (schizophrenia) or F25.0-F25.9 (schizoaffective disorder) since at least 5 years. EXCLUSION CRITERIA: acute serious psychotic episodes or physical illness, alcohol or drug abuse during the year before the study, diagnosed cerebral disorder at admission to the unit, and insufficient ability to speak Swedish. 64 patients filled the criteria and 19 accepted participation: 14 males, 5 females, median age 56 years. OUTCOME MEASURES: Barrow Neurological Institute Screen for Higher Cerebral Functions (BNIS) scores, measured by a psychologist; Frontal Systems Behaviour Scale (FrSBe) Family Version and Functional Independence Measure (FIM) V.4.0 scores, measured by nursing staff. Non-parametric statistics were consistently applied to process the data. RESULTS: Failure analysis showed differences regarding gender and subdiagnoses between participants and non-participants. All participants had BNIS scores indicating cognitive dysfunction. FrSBe group medians showed apathy and executive problems, indicating possible frontal lobe disturbance. FIM showed dependency on others for linguistic and social communication, everyday problem solving, and remembering persons and daily routines. Correlations between FrSBe and FIM (p≤0.01) suggested executive dysfunction being crucial to explain difficulties in performing activities of daily functioning. CONCLUSIONS: Indications of considerable cognitive and functional difficulties found among the participants suggestedthat the instruments are clinically applicable for tentative assessment of cognitive and functional ability among patients with multiepisode schizophrenia and considerable care needs. © Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2017. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.

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