Tag: care and treatment planning

COCAPP-A full report published

COCAPP-A front pageThe full and final report from COCAPP-A has been published, and can be downloaded here. Led by Alan Simpson, this cross-national comparative case study investigated inpatient mental health care planning and coordination and their relationships to recovery and personalised care in six NHS organisations in England and Wales. COCAPP-A is the partner project to COCAPP, which asked similar questions about community mental health care in the same six sites.

The full COCAPP-A report is a substantial document, but also comes with summaries. Here’s the plain English one to give people a flavour:

Care planning processes in mental health wards should be personalised, conducted in collaboration with service users and focused on recovery.

We conducted a study on 19 wards in six NHS mental health hospitals in England and Wales. Over 330 service users, 320 staff and some carers completed questionnaires and took part in interviews. We also reviewed care plans and care review meetings.

We aimed to identify factors that helped staff in, or prevented staff from, providing care that was discussed with service users and that supported recovery.

When the ward seemed more recovery focused, service users rated the quality of care and the quality of therapeutic relationships highly. Staff rated the quality of relationships with service users better than did service users.

Staff spoke of the importance of involving service users in care planning, but from both interviews and care plan reviews it appeared that, often, this did not happen. Staff were trying to work with people to help their recovery, but they were sometimes unsure how to achieve this when service users were very distressed or had been detained under the law. Service users and carers often said that care was good and provided in an individualised way. Keeping people safe was important to staff, and service users were aware of measures taken to keep them safe, although these were not always discussed with them.

Our results suggest that there is widespread commitment to safe, respectful, compassionate care. The results also support the need for research to investigate how staff can increase their time with service users and carers, and how they can involve people more in discussions about their own care and safety.

There’s plenty of work ahead with journal articles to be produced, derived from the larger document. As the COCAPP and COCAPP-A teams now have community and hospital data relating to the same organisations we also have the opportunity to draw conclusions from both studies. This work has already commenced: Michael Coffey and Sally Barlow have taken a paper titled, ‘Barriers to, and facilitators of, recovery-focused care planning and coordination in UK mental health services: findings from COCAPP and COCAPPA’ to this year’s #MHNR2017, Refocus on Recovery and ENMESH conferences.

COCAPP main findings

In a post last week I drew attention to a recent run of publications, promising to write a single post for each as it appears. Yesterday saw the appearance of Recovery-focused care planning and coordination in England and Wales: a cross-national mixed methods comparative case study. This is the main findings paper from COCAPP, published in BMC Psychiatry. Here’s the abstract, for readers wanting a taster:

Background: In the UK, concerns about safety and fragmented community mental health care led to the development of the care programme approach in England and care and treatment planning in Wales. These systems require service users to have a care coordinator, written care plan and regular reviews of their care. Processes are required to be collaborative, recovery-focused and personalised but have rarely been researched. We aimed to obtain the views and experiences of stakeholders involved in community mental health care and identify factors that facilitate or act as barriers to personalised, collaborative, recovery-focused care.

Methods: We conducted a cross-national comparative study employing a concurrent transformative mixed-methods approach with embedded case studies across six service provider sites in England and Wales. The study included a survey of views on recovery, empowerment and therapeutic relationships in service users (n = 448) and recovery in care coordinators (n = 201); embedded case studies involving interviews with service providers, service users and carers (n = 117) and a review of care plans (n = 33). Quantitative and qualitative data were analysed within and across sites using inferential statistics, correlations and framework method.

Results: Significant differences were found across sites for scores on therapeutic relationships. Variation within sites and participant groups was reported in experiences of care planning and understandings of recovery and personalisation. Care plans were described as administratively burdensome and were rarely consulted. Carers reported varying levels of involvement. Risk assessments were central to clinical concerns but were rarely discussed with service users. Service users valued therapeutic relationships with care coordinators and others, and saw these as central to recovery.

Conclusions: Administrative elements of care coordination reduce opportunities for recovery-focused and personalised work. There were few common understandings of recovery which may limit shared goals. Conversations on risk appeared to be neglected and assessments kept from service users. A reluctance to engage in dialogue about risk management may work against opportunities for positive risk-taking as part of recovery-focused work. Research to investigate innovative approaches to maximise staff contact time with service users and carers, shared decision-making in risk assessments, and training designed to enable personalised, recovery focused care coordination is indicated.

People may be interested to learn that COCAPP will also be the subject of a Mental Elf blog and podcast in a week or so’s time:

And, for those wanting the fine-grained detail, there is always our main report to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme.


COCAPP findings published

This morning saw the publication of the full and final report from COCAPP. COCAPP has been led by Professor Alan Simpson from City University London, and (as readers of this blog will know) has been concerned with care planning and coordination in community mental health, and the relationships between these processes and recovery-oriented and personalised care.

Today’s report appears in a single issue of the NIHR’s Health Services and Delivery Research journal. Following the link above takes you to a page from which the complete, 218-page, document can be downloaded. For a shorter read, follow the links instead to either the scientific or the plain English summaries.

Over on the COCAPP blog site, meanwhile, Alan Simpson and Alison Faulkner have written this accessible summary:

Who carried out the research?

The research was carried out by a team of researchers from three universities: City University London in England, and Cardiff and Swansea Universities in Wales. The team was led by Professor Alan Simpson at City University.

Service user and carer involvement:

Of the 13 researchers working directly on the study, six were involved in part time roles as service user researchers: one as co-applicant and the others to interview service users and carers. In addition, there was an advisory group of people with lived experience.

Who funded the research?

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research Programme (HS&DR 11/2004/12). This is a Government research funding body.

Why did we do the research?

Although there are two different systems in England and Wales, both mean that people receiving mental health services should have a care coordinator, a written care plan and regular reviews of their care. With the introduction of the recovery approach and personalisation, it is now expected that care planning and coordination should be recovery-focused and that people will be taking more control over their own support and treatment.

What were the aims of the research?

We wanted to find out what helps and what hinders care planning for people with mental health problems to be collaborative, personalised and recovery-focused.

By collaborative we mean that care planning is completed in partnership with the service user: the care coordinator works with the service user to plan their care.

By personalised we mean that care is designed with the full involvement of the service user and designed to meet their individual needs.

By recovery, we mean ‘a personal journey … one that may involve developing hope, a secure base and supportive relationships, being more in control of your life and care, social inclusion, how you develop coping skills, and self-management … often despite still having symptoms of mental illness.’

Where was the research carried out?

The research was carried out in six NHS mental health service provider organisations: four in England and two in Wales. One of the reasons for carrying out the research in both England and Wales is that Wales has a legal framework in place called the Mental Health Measure, introduced in 2010. This is intended to ensure that where mental health services are delivered, they focus more appropriately on people’s individual needs. In England, care planning is informed by guidance and is not legally required.

What did we do?

The focus of our research was on community mental health care. We wanted to find out the views and experiences of all of the different people involved: care coordinators (in community mental health teams), managers, senior practitioners, service users and their carers.

  1. We carried out an extensive literature review.
  2. We sent out questionnaires to large numbers of people, and received replies from service users (449) and care coordinators (205); these included questions on recovery, therapeutic relationships, and empowerment.
  3. We interviewed senior managers (12) and senior practitioners (27), care coordinators (28), service users (33) and carers (17).
  4. We reviewed 33 care plans with the permission of the service users concerned.

What did we find?

Summary of the survey findings:

  • There were no major differences between the six sites on the empowerment or recovery scores on the service user questionnaires;
  • There were some significant differences between the sites on therapeutic relationships: where there was good collaboration and input from clinicians, relationships were rated as more therapeutic;
  • We also found significant differences between sites on some recovery scores for the care coordinators: where they saw a greater range of treatment options, the service was rated as more recovery-focused;
  • We found a strong positive correlation between scores on the recovery scale and the therapeutic relationship scale for service users; this suggests that organisations perceived to be more recovery-focused were also perceived as having more therapeutic relationships.

Taking Measure

Here in Wales we have the Mental Health Measure. This is a piece of legislation passed in 2010 and implemented in phases in 2012, and which is intended to improve the quality and timeliness of mental health services. Specifically, it provides for:

  • primary mental health care;
  • care and treatment planning and care coordination;
  • the right for an automatic reassessment of needs in secondary mental health services for people discharged within the previous three years;
  • advocacy in hospital.

This month the National Assembly for Wales Health and Social Care Committee has reported on its post-legislative scrutiny of the Measure. The Welsh Government has already committed to conduct a formal evaluation of the legislation through a duty to review, built in as the Measure passed into law. In pursuit of this an inception and an interim report have already appeared, with a final document due in 2016. With the Health and Social Care Committee’s report appearing this month it is clear that the Mental Health Measure is becoming seriously scrutinised.

When the Committee published its call for evidence last year the COCAPP research team submitted a response alerting Assembly Members to our ongoing study. It would have been ideal had we been able to report key findings, given that COCAPP is an examination of care planning and care coordination and is, therefore, of interest to anyone wanting to know how part 2 of the Measure (dealing with care and treatment planning) is being experienced. But the Health and Social Care Committee’s timescales and those of COCAPP were not aligned, meaning the best we could do was to draw attention to our project.

This month the Committee praises many aspects of the Measure but also makes ten recommendations. They address:

  1. meeting demands for primary mental health care, particularly in the case of children and young people;
  2. improving the collection of data to better support the evaluation of primary mental health services;
  3. taking action to improve the form, content and quality of care and treatment plans, with a view to increasing service user involvement and spreading best practice through training;
  4. making sure that rights to self-refer for reassessment are properly understood and communicated to all;
  5. improving staff awareness of service users’ eligibility for independent mental health advocacy in hospital;
  6. setting timescales for new task and finish groups reviewing the Measure, and setting out plans to respond to their recommendations;
  7. during evaluations of the legislation, consulting with as wide a range of people as possible using traditional and novel approaches;
  8. ensuring that information is available in a variety of formats, so that all groups of people are able to access this and to understand;
  9. following the publishing of new plans for the improvement of child and adolescent mental health services, making clear how these will be realised;
  10. carrying out a cost benefit analysis of the Measure.

Clearly, Assembly Members have detected evidence of an uneven pace in the development of primary mental health care across Wales, and are particularly concerned to make sure that the mental health needs of children and young people are properly identified and met in timely fashion. As a COCAPP-er, I am interested to read that the Committee thinks care and treatment planning for everyone can be improved, informed by examples of best practice and through investment in staff training. I also pick out the recommendations on improving service user collaboration, and estimating the costs and benefits of the Measure. These resonate, to me, with current concerns in Wales with prudent health care and co-production.

And as for COCAPP’s findings? Suffice to say our draft final report is now under review with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme. More to follow in due course…