People diagnosed with schizophrenia (PDS) will find seamlessly coordinated services and care in their communities if they are delivered with a high level of continuity of care (COC). Most studies of COC were conducted in Western countries that initiated deinstitutionalisation several decades ago. Limited studies highlight experiences of COC among PDS who live in societies still heavily relying on institutionalised care, such as prolonged hospitalisation, like South Korea where PDS stay in psychiatric hospitals over 100 days on average. This qualitative study explored COC that PDS experienced in South Korea. We focused on cross-boundary COC, which refers to service coordination at a given moment, and longitudinal COC, which refers to care over a period of time. Twenty-one PDS completed in-depth interviews from June to August 2017. Fifteen participants were male (71.4%), and ages ranged from 26 to 71. We used grounded theory techniques for data analysis, including initial open coding, in vivo coding, constant comparison and axial coding. Findings include that PDS experienced poor longitudinal COC when discharge planning during hospitalisation was absent, which undermined their ability to live independently. Poor employment support effectively undermined recovery even if PDS worked hard to attain economic self-sufficiency. As for cross-boundary COC, poor communication between psychiatrists and providers offering psychiatric rehabilitation services was a barrier. PDS in general had difficulties locating needed psychiatric rehabilitation services in the community. The lack of COC appeared to arise from particular sociocultural contexts, including poor self-determination in consumer–provider relationships, families' lack of knowledge and support, and discrimination and prejudice. Despite experiences with discrimination, no participants appeared to have internalised messages that they are ‘less than’ those without mental illnesses. Findings highlight the significance of multi-pronged approaches to increase COC, which can effectively link PDS, families, psychiatrists and psychiatric rehabilitation service providers.
- continuity of care
- mental illness discrimination
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health