Patients with schizophrenia assessing psychiatrists' communication skills.Psychiatry Res. 2018 11; 269:13-20.PR
Communication plays a central role in mental health care. Yet, studies fail to address the adequacy of psychiatrists' communication according to patients' needs. We examined how patients with schizophrenia assess their psychiatrists' communication skills, inspecting the importance that these aspects have for patients. Thirty patients with schizophrenia filled the Communication Assessment Tool after the appointment with their psychiatrists. An external observer also rated the videotaped appointments using the same instrument. Patients' mean rating of their psychiatrists' communication was 4.28 (mean proportion of excellent, "5" scores, was 57.4%). "Treated me with respect" received the highest mean, whereas "Encouraged me to ask questions" received the lowest. The assessment by the external observer was concordant, though lower (mean = 3.39) than patients'. Psychiatrists' communication skills correlated positively with the importance that patients gave to the respective communication aspects (overall mean importance = 2.77). Main discrepancies were related with "Understood my concerns" and "Involved me in decisions". Patients who were non-married, with higher education level and in medical treatment for less time gave significantly higher scores to psychiatrists' communication. Patients with schizophrenia consider clinical communication important and their psychiatrists' communication adequate. Room for improvement exists, namely regarding more elicitation of patients' health concerns and involvement in the encounter.