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Keywords:

  • antipsychotic agents;
  • health personnel-education;
  • patient compliance;
  • psychotic disorders;
  • schizophrenia.

Objective:  Patient nonadherence to psychiatric medication is a key cause of relapse but clinicians do not appear to possess specific adherence skills. We sought to demonstrate that a brief training program on medication adherence strategies could improve the adherence skills, attitudes and knowledge of mental health clinicians.

Methods:  Twenty-three Tasmanian mental health workers were provided a 3 day training workshop on strategies to enhance patient adherence to medications (Medication Alliance). Pre- and post-training measures were taken of clinician knowledge about adherence strategies, ability to identify predictors of nonadherence, attitudes toward working with nonadherent patients, and optimism about treatment outcomes for patients. Videotapes of clinicians demonstrating key adherence therapy skills were also collected before and after training and blind-rated by two experienced therapists.

Results:  A series of paired samples t-tests indicated significant improvements in skills, knowledge and attitudes.

Conclusions:  Compared with similar studies in the UK, Medication Alliance was found to be an effective and efficient training program. However, there is a need for further research to assess maintenance of training effects over time and patient outcomes.