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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 158-170

Psychiatric morbidity of chronic institutionalized patients with schizophrenia ( implications for future community care)

1 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
2 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
3 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Mamdoh ElGamal
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.7123/01.EJP.0000415664.74117.93

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In many western countries, deinstitutionalization of chronically mentally ill patients was established after the mass introduction of neuroleptics in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Deinstitutionalization was proven to be successful when there were strong ideological or humanitarian motives and when psychiatric reform was a priority and was completed with a comprehensive system of community. However, its long-term effects should be examined and questioned in terms of improving quality of life and functional abilities.

Aim and objectives

The research aimed at studying the morbidity profile and impact of schizophrenia on chronic institutionalized mentally ill patients as baseline data for planning of deinstitutionalization and a Community care program.


Data on sociodemographics, course of illness, treatment history, rate of admission, duration of hospital stay, and medical condition were collected retrospectively, followed by a cross-sectional study of a total of 95 patients with a schizophrenia spectrum using psychopathological rating scales such as PANSS, MMSE, CGI-S. Diagnosis according to DSM-IV and an interview using SCID were carried out by two different psychiatrists for high inter-rater reliability. The sample was recruited from among long-stay hospital patients.


The mean age of onset of schizophrenia among the patients was 48.9±10.3 and 21.2±5.7 years. The mean duration of illness was 27.5±9.3 years, whereas the mean duration of repeated admission was 19.07±12.5 years. With respect to the median percentage of total hospital stay, 30% could be attributed to the patients’ median age and 55% to illness duration, whereas with respect to chronic hospitalization 20% could be attributed to the patients’ median age and 35% to illness duration. Of the patients, 85% were men; 70% were single and unemployed with a low socioeconomic status; 25% lacked private housing; 30% had diabetes mellitus and/or hypertension; 80% were obese and overweight; and 50% were on antilipid drugs. Delusion, hallucination, and conceptual disorganization were the highest-scoring positive symptoms in 50% of cases. Negative symptoms also scored higher (7.4) on all items in 60% of cases. Eighty percent had compromised cognitive deficits. Early age of onset of schizophrenia and being older were powerful predictors for repeated admission, a long duration of illness, and chronic hospitalizations. Severity of illness is also a powerful predictor for long hospital stay.


Schizophrenia is a chronic devastating illness that impacts function and cognitive abilities, and is characterized by a high rate of admission, chronic course of illness as well as chronic institutionalization. For continuity of care and a favorable prognosis, early comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and multimodel programs are required for patients with mental illness from the date of first hospital contact.

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