Objective: This study investigated whether a specific structured planning and evaluation approach called VADO (in English, Skills Assessment and Definition of Goals) resulted in improved personal and social functioning among patients with chronic schizophrenia.
Methods: A total of 85 patients with chronic schizophrenia who were under a stable medication regimen were randomly allocated to the VADO-based intervention or to routine care; 78 completed the program. Interventions were carried out in nine Italian day treatment or residential rehabilitation facilities. Assessment at the beginning of the study and at the one-year follow-up included the Personal and Social Performance scale (PSP) and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale Version 4.0 (BPRS). Clinically significant improvement was defined as an increase of at least 10 points on the PSP or a decrease of at least 20 percent on the BPRS total score.
Results: At baseline, average PSP scores in the experimental group and in the control group were 33.9+/-8.1 and 34.0+/-11.2, respectively (possible scores range from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating better functioning). At six months, the score improved markedly in the experimental group (40.8+/-10.9) and minimal change was observed in the control group (35.3+/-11.6); the difference between groups was significant (difference of 6.9 points compared with 1.3 points; t=2.21, df=81, p<.05). At 12 months, the same trend was observed (difference of 12.0 points compared with 3.5 points), and the difference between groups was both statistically and clinically significant (t=2.99, df=75, p<.01).
Conclusions: A statistically and clinically significant improvement in functioning was observed among patients treated with the VADO approach.