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It is of great benefit to patients when experienced leaders conduct the training

It is of great benefit to patients when experienced leaders conduct the training

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Sarah Regary Photography: Christopher Kern

The qualitative study investigated experiences of group meetings in psychiatric outpatient care that provided support and collegiality to patients during the years 2018–2022 at Nora Stockholm Psychiatry. Meetings were organized by staff with previous experience in mental illness. During group meetings, patients were able to exchange information about specialist psychiatry and support available from other social institutions and to think jointly about strategies for coping with stigma, social context, friendships, loneliness and self-care.

The study results show the value of having experienced leaders as part of the paid staff. Unlike patient education designed by health care professionals without their own expertise, experienced leaders can teach how to navigate different community facilities and systems based on their own perspective of the patient.

Therefore, the leaders understand the participants’ situation deeply, which contributes to the participants quickly feeling trust in the leaders. I believe that similar educational programs would be of great benefit in many chronic or long-term diseases. There is a lot to learn from other patients, as a complement to what you can learn from care, says Sarah Regar, co-author of the study, Patienten i Förarsätet, Karolinska Institutet and a researcher at Uppsala University with special expertise in chronic diseases.

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