This article aims to review whether schizophrenic patients with COVID-19 infection are at greater risk of hospitalization, development or exacerbation of other medical and psychiatric conditions, and even death than the general population. In addition, this article will propose evidence-based strategies for alleviating the disease burden in this at-risk group. A review of the literature was conducted utilizing the PubMed/MEDLINE database with the search terms “schizophrenia,” “severe mental illness,” “psychosis,” “COVID-19,” “hospitalization,” “sequela,” “mortality,” and “death.” The literature search was repeated using different combinations of these terms with hopes of yielding more articles pertaining to the research topic. After a thorough review of each article’s title, abstract, and full text, twenty-nine key articles were identified and determined to be most relevant. Pertinent articles written in English within the past 10 years were considered regardless of article type. These articles served as the basis for this clinical review. Individuals with schizophrenia have a higher chance of experiencing long-term effects from COVID-19 infection and are at increased risk for hospitalization and death, especially if pre-existing comorbidities are present. The medical literature explains that schizophrenic individuals with COVID-19 infection are a vulnerable population at increased risk of hospitalization, sequela, and death. Researchers have uncovered vital factors that provide essential information, particularly for healthcare providers who render psychiatric care within corrections institutions, inpatient psychiatric units, consultation-liaison services, and nursing homes, i.e., congregate settings where this patient population is more likely to be seen and have complications occur. To alleviate the burden COVID-19 infection can have on individuals with schizophrenia, researchers suggest that clinicians address the multiple comorbidities that commonly accompany schizophrenia and use antipsychotic treatment to engage patients in their care. Clinicians should also consider incorporating psychological counseling and psychotherapy, as well as providing vaccination when and where appropriate. Research has shown that development of targeted vaccination programs and other initiatives serve this patient population better and improve outcomes.
Allen E. Assessing the Risk of Hospitalization, Sequela, and Mortality in Schizophrenic Patients with COVID-19 infection. University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository. 2022; 4(4).
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