Objectives: This study was carried out as part of a collaborative European study, with the aim of assessing needs in a population with chronic schizophrenia in the context of a community service, and also to measure service use in this population.
Method: This is the first part of a 12 month follow-up study of a sample of persons with schizophrenia who were in contact with the psychiatric services. Seventy eight patients who matched the inclusion criteria were randomly selected and 64 (82%) were interviewed using the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuro-Psychiatry (SCAN) and the Needs for Care Assessment Schedule (NCAS). Service use data for a 12 month period were collected prospectively using the Mannheim Service Recording Sheet (MSRS).
Results: The levels of clinical and social need were quite low at 2.1 and 2.6 respectively. Most needs were met; unmet need was 0.11 for clinical problems and 0.4 for social. Service use was high, with a total of 6,969 contacts with community services, a mean of 109 per patient per year. Total service use (including inpatient and hostel) was partly predictive of met need (R2 23.6). The levels of met and unmet need in Dublin compare favourably with that reported in Mannheim and Granada. Service use was similar to that in Mannheim, although there was a higher level of service provision in Mannheim.
Conclusions: This study has shown that there is a low level of clinical and social need in this sample of patients with schizophrenia living in the community, and a relatively high level of service use. There is good evidence that services are meeting the needs of this sample of patients.