FAST-O works well for characterization and monitoring of sheltered housing schizophrenia patients

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: The de-institutionalizing process came to an end before the millennium shift by closing mental hospitals. After that some of the most ill patients are cared for in sheltered housing (SH). There is no in-house psychiatric competence and the staff on the floor usually lacks such knowledge and training. Observation instruments may improve this by making it possible to assess and monitor patients. Method: FAST-O is a simple twelve-item observation scale. Staff at eight SH units were trained in using the instrument and then assessed a total of 67 patients once, twice or three times at monthly intervals. Results: Ten items formed two highly homogenous subscales reflecting Social skills (Soc) and Excitation/Aggression (E/A). Depression and Clinical Global Impression (CGI) items were considered separately. The correlation pattern suggested that the ratings had construct validity. A cluster analysis identified three patient subgroups, of which one had very high E/A scores. Comparisons with reference data suggested that the average symptom level was on par with acutely admitted in-patients for this subgroup. In all groups, E/A symptoms varied considerably over time, the other symptoms were more stable. There were marked differences among the eight SH units with respect to the level of patient problems. Conclusions: The SH staff was able to produce valid FAST-O assessments. There are reference data which makes it possible to characterize individual patients as well as SH units with respect to treatment needs and safety aspects (for instance risk of violence).


External organisations
  • Malmö University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychiatry


  • FAST-O, observation scales, percentile scores, Schizophrenia, sheltered housing, symptoms
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-210
JournalNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number3
Early online date2019 Mar 19
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch