Review of the available literature, from various countries, on housing options indicates that, for people with a mental illness, boarding houses are the least desirable type of community accommodation and that living in their own home is the most desirable type of accommodation. The present research project provides a more in-depth examination of people with schizophrenia and the impact of living in their own home compared to living in a boarding house. In this Australian study there were 3231 subjects, 3033 who were living in their own homes and 201 living in boarding house accommodation. The study used two instruments from the Mental Health Classification and Service Cost Project, specifically the Health of the Nation Outcomes Scale, which is a measure of current symptoms, and a shortened version of the Life Skills Profile, which measures global level of functioning. Results indicated that while there were no differences in the level of psychiatric symptoms experienced, people living in boarding houses had less access to social support, meaningful activities and work; they also had a significantly lower level of global functioning. These findings contradict the conventional wisdom that people with schizophrenia resort to living in boarding houses because of their level of disability and highlights an area of potential intervention for community health services.
The aim of this study was to develop a substantive grounded theory describing the relationship among housing, social support, and the mental health of people with schizophrenia. To achieve this aim, data were collected from people with schizophrenia living in boarding houses and living in their own home. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 13 people with schizophrenia to explore their experiences and views regarding the impact of their housing on their mental health. Findings indicate a strong desire among all participants to live in their own home. When they do they feel they belong, they feel safe and most importantly they have greater opportunities to make and maintain supportive social relationships.
Type of housing predicts rate of readmission to hospital but not length of stay in people with schizophrenia on the Gold Coast in Queensland
Graeme Browne, Mary Courtney and Tom Meehan
Australian Health Review 27(1) 65 – 72