Evaluation of perceived usefulness of activity scheduling in an inpatient depression group

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Recent studies have documented that inpatient care on acute psychiatric wards is ineffective. Government directives suggest that wards should initiate and provide a choice of therapeutic and recreational activities. Priority should be given to effective treatments, such as cognitive behavioural therapy. Homework tasks, such as activity scheduling (AS), form an important part of cognitive behavioural therapy for depression. To address inactivity on the wards and use more evidence-based interventions, a quality improvement project was carried out that implemented AS in an inpatient depression group programme. Both inpatients' and staff's perception of its usefulness was evaluated. Sixteen inpatients completed the Beck Depression Inventory-II, and a questionnaire, which was specifically designed to assess the perceived usefulness of AS. In addition, 14 nursing staff completed a similar questionnaire. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were carried out. Results showed that all participants found AS useful. Eight inpatients had not engaged in any activity prior to being involved in AS. Most inpatients reported gaining some pleasure and satisfaction out of doing AS and experienced a positive effect on their mood and recovery. While 12 staff expressed interest in learning more about AS, 10 needed more information before carrying it out themselves, and only four had the time to do so. The perceived usefulness of AS will be discussed within the context of a psychiatric inpatient setting.

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