Addressing Physical Health Problems Experienced by People With Schizophrenia in Canada: A Critical Literature Review

Debora Isane R. Kirschbaum Nitkin, Denise Gastaldo

Abstract


The authors present a critical review of the literature produced by Canadian researchers regarding medical co-morbidities and the resources and strategies they recommend for assessing and managing the physical health problems of people with schizophrenia. Scientific production in the field consists of 9 original research articles and 6 literature reviews, revealing a dearth of studies in this area in Canada. The studies examined show that diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and substance abuse are the most frequent co-morbidities affecting people with schizophrenia. Another finding is that most researchers are challenged methodologically to generalize results due to limitations in design or sample characteristics. The authors point to the need for more research to better understand the role of treatment, individual characteristics, lifestyle, and structural issues in the development of co-morbidities among people with schizophrenia. They also discuss the importance of addressing these topics in nursing practice and education.

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