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Keywords:

  • schizophrenia;
  • psychosis;
  • relapse;
  • early recognition;
  • early intervention;
  • self-management

Purpose: To determine whether the use of relapse prevention plans (RPPs) in nursing practice is an effective intervention in reducing relapse rates among patients with schizophrenia.

Design and Methods: Experimental design. Patients with schizophrenia (or a related psychotic disorder) and nurses from three mental health organizations were randomly assigned to either an experimental (RPP) or control condition (care as usual). The primary outcome measure was the psychotic relapses in the research groups.

Results: The relapse rates in the experimental and control groups after 1-year follow-up were 12.5% and 26.2%, respectively (p=.12, ns). The relative risk of a relapse in the experimental versus the control group was 0.48(ns).

Conclusions: In this study no statistically significant effects of the intervention were found. Effectiveness research in this area should be continued with larger sample sizes and longer follow-up periods.