In a health-care service with the emphasis on improvement related to functioning and well-being, the communication process between patient and professionals is essential. There is a lack of research on this matter.
The aim was to investigate, in a group of severely mentally ill persons, whether the use of a simple communication tool could influence the sense of empowerment, satisfaction with care, therapeutic alliance and unmet needs.
The study had a cluster randomized design. The intervention was a communication tool (2-COM) applied in two teams during one year. In a comparison group of two other teams, the treatment was as usual. At baseline, after six months, and after one year, assessments were made.
After one year the 2-COM groups seemed to have a larger reduction in unmet needs compared to the treatment-as-usual group. However, there were large problems with attrition in the study, and it was not possible to draw relevant conclusions.
The methodological problems were substantial, and the study may be considered as a pilot study. In a main study the researchers ought to take control over the selection of patients on the basis of the experiences from this study.