IPS Program Benefits Schizophrenia Patients Seeking Jobs

Article excerpt

FROM SCHIZOPHRENIA RESEARCH

Older adults with schizophrenia got V./more and better jobs using an individualized employment support program than with conventional job counseling, a study has shown.

Within a year after beginning each program, more than half of those in the individualized program had worked, compared with less than a third of those who received the typical counseling, Elizabeth W. Twamley, Ph.D., and her colleagues wrote in the March issue of the journal (Schizophrenia Research 2012;135:100-4).

The 12-month study randomized 58 middle-aged and older adults with schizophrenia to the programs.

The individualized placement and support (IPS) program used counselors with a caseload of no more than 25 clients.

Caseworkers made an effort to integrate employment counseling with psychiatric treatment.

The program also emphasized obtaining competitive work (that is, jobs not reserved for disabled workers) and offered all clients unlimited support during their job search and subsequent employment.

Caseworkers in the conventional vocational rehabilitation (CVR) arm had 35 clients. The study staff provided extra support with job-readiness and prevocational coaching classes and with making appointments. For the three job appointments, the staff provided reminders and transportation.

The clients' mean age was 51 years; their average duration of illness was 24 years. About half had a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder; the remainder had schizophrenia. Most (79%) had been without paid work for 2 years, although 86% had at one time held the same job for at least 12 months.

The study had a 21% attrition rate (12 clients). These participants were significantly less likely to be taking atypical antipsychotics (42% vs. 80%), were more likely to have a diagnosis of schizophrenia (67% vs. 33%), and had been unemployed for a significantly longer period (13 vs. …