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Background: The care of mentally ill in many developing countries suggests a marked coincidence of chronicity, with a sizeable number of apparently homeless mentally ill people, wandering about the cities and often neglected by the society.
Aim: The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of Transitional shelter-based treatment and rehabilitation model on homeless (vagrant) psychotic patients in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, evaluate its challenges and suggest strategies for improvement.
Methods: This was a descriptive study of a purposive sample of 157 vagrant psychotic patients admitted and treated with psychotropic medications at the State Psychiatric hospital, Eket, in collaboration with the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation, in order to assess the effectiveness of Transitional shelter-based program for three months period.
Results: One hundred and fifty seven (157) patients, were reviewed after three months stay in the hospital, and the results showed that 79% were males, and 21% females. The age range of the patients was from 16-65 years and majority of them, 79.6% were indigenes, while 20.4% were non-indigenes, 22.9% of the patients had substance-related problems. The most prevalent psychiatric diagnosis was Schizophrenia (37%). A total number of the patients 144 (91.7%) were successfully treated using psychotropic medications and re-integrated with their families; 5.7% were abandoned, 1.9% absconded while one (0.6%) died.
Conclusion: Transitional or supportive housing and homeless shelters program can help stabilize people with chronic mental and/or substance use disorders that are homeless. There is need to strengthen and encourage this program in our environment so as to help this unfortunate group of people in our society.