A mixed methods evaluation of an integrated adult mental health service model.

Published on Oct 14, 2019in BMC Health Services Research2.655
· DOI :10.1186/S12913-019-4501-7
Diana Beere2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Centre for Mental Health),
Imogen Page2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Centre for Mental Health)
+ 1 AuthorsMeredith Harris37
Estimated H-index: 37
(Centre for Mental Health)
The Floresco integrated service model was designed to address the fragmentation of community mental health treatment and support services. Floresco was established in Queensland, Australia, by a consortium of non-government organisations that sought to partner with general practitioners (GPs), private mental health providers and public mental health services to operate a ‘one-stop’ mental health service hub. We conducted an independent mixed-methods evaluation of client outcomes following engagement with Floresco (outcome evaluation) and factors influencing service integration (process evaluation). The main data sources were: (1) routinely-collected Recovery Assessment Scale — Domains and Stages (RAS–DS) scores at intake and review (n = 108); (2) RAS–DS scores, mental health inpatient admissions and emergency department (ED) presentations among clients prospectively assessed at intake and six-month follow-up (n = 37); (3) semi-structured interviews with staff from Floresco, consortium partners, private practitioners and the local public mental health service (n = 20); and (4) program documentation. Interviews identified staff commitment, co-location of services, flexibility in problem-solving, and anecdotal evidence of positive client outcomes as important enablers of service integration. Barriers to integration included different organisational practices, difficulties in information-sharing and in attracting and retaining GPs and private practitioners, and systemic constraints on integration with public mental health services. Of 1129 client records, 108 (9.6%) included two RAS–DS measurements, averaging 5 months apart. RAS–DS ‘total recovery’ scores improved significantly (M = 63.3%, SD = 15.6 vs. M = 69.2%, SD = 16.1; p < 0.001), as did scores on three of the four RAS–DS domains (‘Looking forward’, p < 0.001; ‘Mastering my illness’, p < 0.001; and ‘Connecting and belonging’, p = 0.001). Corresponding improvements, except in ‘Connecting and belonging’, were seen in the 37 follow-up study participants. Decreases in inpatient admissions (20.9% vs. 7.0%), median length of inpatient stay (8 vs. 3 days), ED presentations (34.8% vs. 6.3%) and median duration of ED visits (187 vs. 147 min) were not statistically significant. Despite the lack of a control group and small follow-up sample size, Floresco’s integrated service model showed potential to improve client outcomes and reduce burden on the public mental health system. Horizontal integration of non-government and private services was achieved, and meaningful progress made towards integration with public mental health services.
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