Tag: COCAPP-A

COCAPP-A main findings paper

COCAPP-ACOCAPP-A, funded by the NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research Programme, investigated care planning and coordination in inpatient mental health services. It was led by Alan Simpson, and I was mighty pleased to have been part of the research team. The full, 270 page, report appeared in 2017. Now, a derived paper reporting main findings has appeared in the journal BMC Psychiatry. Lead authored by Michael Coffey this article amounts to a more modest 18 pages, which means it stands a chance of actually being read by people able to make use of it.

As a gold open access article the paper is free to download to anyone with an internet connection. As a taster, here’s the abstract:

Background: Involving mental health service users in planning and reviewing their care can help personalised care focused on recovery, with the aim of developing goals specific to the individual and designed to maximise achievements and social integration. We aimed to ascertain the views of service users, carers and staff in acute inpatient wards on factors that facilitated or acted as barriers to collaborative, recovery-focused care.
Methods: A cross-national comparative mixed-methods study involving 19 mental health wards in six service provider sites in England and Wales. This included a survey using established standardised measures of service users (n = 301) and staff (n = 290) and embedded case studies involving interviews with staff, service users and carers (n = 76). Quantitative and qualitative data were analysed within and across sites using descriptive and inferential statistics, and framework method.
Results: For service users, when recovery-oriented focus was high, the quality of care was rated highly, as was the quality of therapeutic relationships. For staff, there was a moderate correlation between recovery orientation and quality of therapeutic relationships, with considerable variability. Staff members rated the quality of therapeutic relationships higher than service users did. Staff accounts of routine collaboration contrasted with a more mixed picture in service user accounts. Definitions and understandings of recovery varied, as did views of hospital care in promoting recovery. Managing risk was a central issue for staff, and service users were aware of measures taken to keep them safe, although their involvement in discussions was less apparent.
Conclusions: There is positive practice within acute inpatient wards, with evidence of commitment to safe, respectful, compassionate care. Recovery ideas were evident but there remained ambivalence on their relevance to inpatient care. Service users were aware of efforts taken to keep them safe, but despite measures described by staff, they did not feel routinely involved in care planning or risk management decisions. Research on increasing therapeutic contact time, shared decision making in risk assessment and using recovery focused tools could further promote personalised and recovery-focused care planning.

HCARE welcomes Alan Simpson

Alan's seminarOn November 6th 2017 the School of Healthcare Sciences welcomed Alan Simpson from City, University of London to give a talk titled, Full-steam ahead or treading carefully? Reflections on public and patient involvement in health services research.

In warm and engaging style Alan drew on a whole programme of mental health research (including the City 128 study, Safewards, COCAPP, COCAPP-A and ENRICH) to share his experiences of involving service users at every step. Alan began with an exploration of the reasons for involving patients and the public in research, and drew on his case studies to provide examples of different methods and approaches in action. He closed with lessons learned, emphasising the importance of time, resources, flexibility, training and support, and having funds to pay people for their time and expertise.

The event was livestreamed via the twitter account of the Cardiff University mental health nursing lecturing team. For those who missed Alan and want to catch up, the saved video can still be viewed here:

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.

Mental health awareness week

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 has the theme of ‘surviving or thriving’, this also being the title of a new report from the Mental Health Foundation. Included in this document is a summary of research completed by NatCen, on behalf of the Mental Health Foundation, into the prevalence of mental health problems across the population and into the activities that people do to manage these.

Here’s a snip from the report, summarising the self-reported difficulties experienced by the 2,290 people who took part:

MHF thriving
Extracted from Surviving or thriving

Using their NatCen data the Mental Health Foundation goes on to highlight major health inequalities. Almost three quarters of those on the lowest household income report experience of mental health difficulties, compared to six in ten of the wealthiest. A large majority of unemployed people responding reported experience of mental health problems, with women and younger people also particularly affected.

These findings are broadly in line with those reported in the most recent Mental Health and Wellbeing in England Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, the data for which was collected in 2014. This is the latest in a series of studies dating back to 1993, involving (in the 2014 iteration) a sample of some 7,500 people. In the case of Surviving or thriving, the new (to me, at any rate) detail is the reporting of what actions people take to help themselves with their difficulties. Here’s another snip:

Surviving 2
Extracted from Surviving or thriving

Family and friends, outdoor physical activity and hobbies look to be the three most-used strategies. I can’t say I’m surprised by this, and am reminded of the value placed in relationships with others by people taking part in COCAPP.

Elsewhere during Mental Health Awareness Week, The Guardian has published a number of pieces including this one on the shortage of mental health nurses and this one on Hafal‘s Gellinudd Recovery Centre (about which I previously blogged here). Coincidentally, this is also the month that the full and final report from COCAPP-A has been accepted for publication: well done Alan Simpson for leading this work. This mighty tome, reporting from our cross-national study into care planning and coordination in acute mental health inpatient settings, has now proceeded to the production arm of the NIHR and is scheduled to appear in gold open access form towards the end of the year. In the meantime, work is progressing to produce papers for journals. More on these to follow in due course.

#NPNR2016 review 

I’m back from my annual trip to the International Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research conference, held this year in Nottingham and once again presented as a collaboration between MHNAUK and the RCN

This, the 22nd NPNR gathering, is the second for which I have served as a member of the conference organising and scientific committee. Our theme – trailed well in advance via our dedicated conference twitter account – was mental health across the lifecourse. We had some super keynote speakers: Elaine Hanzak, who spoke with openness about her recovery from postnatal mental illness; Luciana Berger MP, former Shadow Minister for Mental Health and President of the Labour Campaign for Mental Health, who demonstrated knowledge of, and commitment to, the field; John Keady, who spoke with passion about creative, biographical, approaches to researching the needs and experiences of people with dementia, including in his ongoing Neighbourhoods and Dementia programme; Steven Pryjmachuk, who made the case for nursing leadership in children and young people’s mental health research, and along the way gave a mention to the RiSC study; and Bryn Lloyd-Evans, who summarised the state of play in crisis resolution research, drawing (amongst other things) on the CORE programme. Our plenary sessions were expertly chaired by Wendy Cross and Geoff Dickens, and – as a first – this year’s event also included a partnership with André Tomlin from the Mental Elf Service and Mark Brown and Vanessa Garrity from the WeMHNurses community. This meant we had lots of social media and online discussion throughout the conference, recording of plenary sessions and a live-streamed pre-event round table evening discussion chaired by Alan Simpson. Here is a link to the recording, for those who missed it as it happened:

Once I have a link to the recordings of #NPNR2016’s keynote talks I’ll update this post with these, too. 

A note, too, on the conference’s workshops and concurrent sessions. I enjoyed participating in André Tomlin’s critical appraisal workshop, and with Elaine Hanzak writing a contribution during this to the blog post published on The Mental Elf website here. I also enjoyed our follow-up discussion on using social media, convened by André and Vanessa Garrity. I heard Nicky Lambert give two presentations (no less), and listened to talks from Karen Wright, Paula Libberton, Andrew Grundy and Ashlee Charles. There’s some great work going on out there, let it be said. That includes in COCAPP-A, Plan4Recovery and RiSC, all of which were presented in Nottingham.

As soon as we’re able, the conference organising committee will announce details of both dates and venue for #NPNR2017. Watch this space for an update. 

Understanding mental health systems and services — Mental Health / Iechyd Meddwl

Here’s a link to my first post for a new Cardiff University Mental Health Blog. The content will be broadly familar to people who have dipped into my personal blog in the past, insofar as I have chosen to say something general about doing mental health services research.

Working in collaboration with colleagues across the UK, including with people who have directly used services, researchers in the School of Healthcare Sciences at Cardiff University study mental health systems.

via Understanding mental health systems and services — Mental Health / Iechyd Meddwl

Clicking the hyperlink above, which appears beneath the brief snippet of text, will take you to the full piece. There are already some interesting other posts on the site, too, including a piece by Mike Owen written as an opener.

Bus blogging

Time, just about, to use a bus journey across Cardiff en route to the University Hospital of Wales site (for the purposes of teaching) to post an update on recent activities.

There’s lots to say. Projects I’ve blogged about on this site (COCAPP, COCAPP-A, Plan4Recovery) are now being written up. Our main findings paper from COCAPP appears imminently in BMC Psychiatry. Alan Simpson, as lead author, completed checking the proofs of this in the last few days so we know it’s on its way. Michael Coffey has lead authored a COCAPP paper addressing risk; earlier this week this was accepted for publication in Health Expectations. Further papers will follow, as they will in the future from COCAPP-A. I’ll make a point of posting about each as they appear. Plan4Recovery has been about shared decision-making and social approaches to care, and here, too, work on a first publication is well underway. 

Meanwhile, Therapeutic skills for mental health nurses edited by Nicola Evans and me has just been published by Open University Press. This is a fine text indeed (though I say so myself), which we hope proves particular useful to students.

A big highlight of the last few weeks has been the award of a doctorate to my colleague and (now former) student Pauline Tang. Pauline used qualitative methods to investigate the use of electronic patient records in a medical assessment unit, and you can read her thesis here. And talking of doctorates: Mohammad Marie, writing with Aled Jones and me, has a second paper from his study of resilience in Palestinian community mental health nurses about to appear: this one in the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing

Right! I’m off the bus and walking to a classroom. Time to fly, and to remind myself that it is perhaps better to post more frequently than to cram so much into a single, short, piece like this. 

Sticking up for qualitative research

Technological failure meant I was unable to participate in this week’s Mental Elf campfire discussion, What has qualitative research ever done for us? The context for the event was the recent decision by the BMJ to reject a paper submitted for publication by members of the McGill Qualitative Research Group on the grounds that qualitative research reports are of low priority. This, the BMJ editors added, is because they are downloaded and cited less often than are reports of quantitative research. The BMJ communication conveying this news to the McGill team was posted on social media, triggering significant protest and then a letter to the BMJ making the case for qualitative methods and urging an editorial rethink.

These kinds of debates over the relative value of different research approaches flare up from time-to-time. Sixteen years ago Philip Burnard and I wrote a paper on the emergence of two camps within mental health nursing. We characterised these with reference to a quantitative/qualitative divide, and made a case for rapprochement and synthesis.

In the event, this week’s campfire which I missed was a sensible and informed one, with excellent speakers. The recording can be viewed here:

For the record, the exemplar piece of qualitative mental health research which I had prepared to talk about is Strauss and colleagues’ Psychiatric ideologies and institutions. I wrote a short piece about this book in 2014, on the occasion of its fiftieth birthday. My view remains that many of the observations made within it are as relevant now as they were in 1964. Ideas and practices, for example, remain contested.

Suffice to say that there has been no shortage of very high-quality qualitative mental health research produced in the years since, including by nurses. Check out these papers by two other invited campfire participants: Alan Simpson on the squeezing of community mental health nurses’ time, and Michael Coffey on the use of time in the accounts of conditionally discharged patients living in the community. Both show how the considered analysis of detailed qualitative data can reveal vital new knowledge of mental health systems, and of the views and experiences of people working within, or using, them. For readers wanting more, over on the Mental Elf website there are currently more than 200 blog posts on recent qualitative research: a rich repository indeed.

This week’s Mental Elf campfire discussion also included some commentary on the use of mixed methods. COCAPP and COCAPP-A demonstrate the value of combining quantitative and qualitative approaches, and reveal how data from surveys, interviews, observations and documentary review can be fruitfully brought together. This type of study is becoming increasingly popular, informed by the idea that different research questions (of a type which might be brought together in a single project) simply require different methods to answer them. This is a position I remain comfortable with.

And so we press on. I’ve been involved in lots of writing lately, as projects yield papers. As per my usual practice, as these appear in journals I’ll aim to write posts on this blog about them and include links to open access versions as I am able. Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment.

Cumulative insights

Not for the first time, I’ve attempted to produce some cumulative insights from the past and present mental health research studies I’ve had the opportunity to work on. These include my PhD investigation into work and roles in community mental health care, my post-doctoral study of crisis services, and more recent projects which Alan Simpson, Michael Coffey or I have led on.

The prompt, on this occasion, has been the chance to give a presentation at a School of Healthcare Sciences research seminar taking place this afternoon. For anyone interested, here is the PowerPoint I used. I opened with some general comments on the need for mental health research, and on the funding landscape. I then had some things to say about theory, design and methods. Many of the individual slides have hyperlinks to green open access publications:

Fees, theses and project updates

Last week brought the news that, in England, people beginning nursing degrees from the 2017-18 academic year will need to take out student loans to cover the cost of their tuition fees. The cap on student numbers will also be removed. The Council of Deans of Health broadly supports this move, having previously argued for change. One of the things it points out is that current funding for students (via the agreement of the benchmark price) does not cover the real costs of educating new nurses. The Royal College of Nursing, on the other hand, is concerned that last week’s announcement prepares to break the connection between the NHS and financial support for student nurses, and simultaneously risks making nursing a less attractive career option. This concern particularly relates to mature students and those contemplating a second degree, for some of whom the prospect of additional debt may be exceptionally unappealing. As a nurse academic in Wales I wait with interest to see what policy on fees will emerge from the Welsh Government.

In other news, I find myself engaged in a prolonged period of doctoral student activity. I’ve examined a number of theses in and out of Cardiff in recent months, and have sat with students during their vivas as either supervisor or independent chair. This term has been particularly packed. Plenty of writing has also been taking place: papers and reports are being written from COCAPP, RiSC and Plan4Recovery, and from completed theses I have helped to supervise. Data generation in COCAPP-A has almost concluded, and new research ideas are taking shape. Exciting times, if a little frenetic.