Health and social care coordination for severe and persistent mental illness in Australia: a mixed methods evaluation of experiences with the Partners in Recovery Program

Date

2018-04-03

Authors

Banfield, Michelle
Forbes, Owen

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

BioMed Central

Abstract

Background Care coordination has been identified as a person-centred response to the difficulty in meeting the needs of people with severe and persistent mental illness and complex needs. This study evaluated the processes and outcomes of the Partners in Recovery initiative in the Australian Capital Territory, a program established to improve coordination of health and social care for this population. Methods Client, carer and service provider experiences were investigated using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative data were collected through questionnaires completed by clients (n = 25) and service providers (n = 14). Qualitative data comprised open-ended written feedback from the surveys, together with semi-structured interviews with selected clients (n = 6), carers (n = 2), and service providers (n = 4). In both study elements, questions focused on dimensions of experience such as communication, continuity and coordination, teamwork and sustainability. Descriptive statistics were calculated for quantitative data; qualitative data were analysed using content analysis. Results Clients were satisfied with the program across the majority of experience dimensions, and there was evidence of improved access to coordinated care. Support Facilitators (care coordinators) were central to client and carer reports of the impacts of the program, and to coordination between services through connections built at the individual level. Challenges included difficulties with information continuity, a lack of role clarity for service providers, and uncertainty about the legacy of the program given the absence of formal agreements connecting different services. Conclusions The Support Facilitator role was critical to the success of the program. Support Facilitators acted as a source of stability and relational continuity for clients, while also enabling connections with external services through the development of individual level partnerships and personal networks. Systems level coordination was limited by communication difficulties and a lack of formalised infrastructure to support cooperation between services, calling into question the lasting impact of the program for system change.

Description

Keywords

Care coordination, Integration of care, Mental health, Health services, Partners in Recovery, Continuity of care

Citation

Banfield, M., Forbes, O. Health and social care coordination for severe and persistent mental illness in Australia: a mixed methods evaluation of experiences with the Partners in Recovery Program. Int J Ment Health Syst 12, 13 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13033-018-0194-2

Source

International Journal of Mental Health Systems

Type

Journal article

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

Open Access

License Rights

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

DOI

10.1186/s13033-018-0194-2

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