Tag: psychiatric hospitals

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.


Safe staffing

In a post on this site last year I drew attention to the (highly contested) decision by NICE to suspend its work on safe nurse staffing in inpatient mental health settings. Now, and with thanks to Shaun Lintern from the Health Service Journal (and to John Baker, who amongst mental health nurses has worked particularly hard to keep this issue alive), NICE’s evidence review in this area has just been published.

Here’s how the news was broken earlier this week:

Here’s a quick summary. Seven research questions were asked in the review, with searches made of fifteen databases for evidence published since 1998. To be included, studies had to report on at least one of:

  • staffing in relation to outcomes;
  • staffing in relation to factors (such as service user factors, environmental factors);
  • staffing in relation to factors and outcomes.

Studies were eligible for inclusion if they reported findings from inpatient mental health areas serving people of any age. Outcomes of interest included serious incidents (e.g., self-harm, violence), delivery of nursing care (e.g., levels of contact) and other (e.g., nurse vacancy rates). Following a process of searching and sifting just 29 papers were finally included, and subject to quality appraisal. And the conclusions? Here they are, as extracted by John Baker with a call for action:


Visiting Denmark

St Hans Hospital, Roskilde
I took the chance to indulge some professional interests during a just-finished summer trip to Denmark by paying a visit to the museum at St Hans Hospital in Roskilde

St Hans was founded in 1816, and is Denmark’s oldest psychiatric hospital. The grounds are pleasant, with local tourist information indicating they remain a popular place for Roskilde’s residents to take a stroll.

Straitjacket, St Hans Hospital
The hospital, we learned, was once occupied by 2,000 inpatients. Around 200 beds remain and parts of the site are apparently scheduled for selling off; as in the UK, most mental health care in Denmark is now provided in the community. In the hospital’s museum we saw artwork, and exhibits which included a straitjacket and a restraining chair. How times and practices have changed.

Remains of Viking longboat, Roskilde Ship Museum
Remains of Viking longboat, Roskilde Ship Museum
Changing subject at pace, here for anyone interested is a non-mental health related picture from Roskilde Ship Museum. The longboat is one of five ships deliberately scuttled, in the 11th century, in Roskilde Fjord (near a place called Skuldelev) to form a defence against attack. All five were found in the early 1960s, and came to be housed in the purpose-built museum we visited.

Roskilde Fjord
Roskilde Fjord
Modern Danes enjoy a high standard of living, invest in welfare and are amongst the happiest people in the world. They also do living history better than most, and at both the Ship Museum and the Ribe Viking Centre there was plenty of 8th-11th century skill and craftwork on display.

But how, I now ask, did the Vikings experience, recognise and respond to mental ill-health? A niche area of research indeed, for which a quick scan online turns up this paper. Alas, it sits behind a publisher’s paywall and is in a journal I cannot access through Cardiff University’s library subscriptions.

Now back at work, a busy few months beckon with ongoing research projects, new projects to develop and students to teach, supervise and assess as the 2015-16 academic year unfolds. I’ll hope to get back up to speed with this blog site as things progress. 

Risk in inpatient child and adolescent mental health services

This week our full report from the RiSC study, An evidence synthesis of risk identification, assessment and management for young people using tier 4 inpatient child and adolescent mental health services, has been published in Health Services and Delivery Research. This is in gold open access form, and is free to download and read.

Here’s our plain English summary:

In our two-part study we brought together evidence in the area of risk for young people admitted to mental health hospital. First, we searched two electronic databases, finding 124 articles. Most were concerned with clinical risks, such as the risks of suicide. Using diagrams we grouped these articles together under a number of themes.

Young people who had been inpatients in mental health hospital, carers, managers and professionals helped us prioritise the types of risk we should concentrate on in the second part of our study. Our top two priorities were the risks of dislocation and contagion. We used the word ‘dislocation’ to refer to the risks of being removed from normal life, of experiencing challenges to identity and of being stigmatised. We used it to refer to the risks to friendships and families, and to education. We used ‘contagion’ to refer to the risks of learning unhelpful behaviour and making unhelpful friendships.

We searched 17 databases and a large number of websites for evidence in these areas. We asked hospital staff to send us information on how they managed these risks and we searched journals and reference lists. We identified 40 items to include in our review and 20 policy and guidance documents. The quality of the studies varied. We grouped the evidence together under seven categories.

We found little evidence to guide practice. The risks of dislocation and contagion are important, but research is needed to inform how staff might identify, assess and manage them.

This has been an excellent project to work on: a great team, and some good engagement with young people and others with a shared interest in what we’ve been up to. Next up is an accessible summary, and some writing of articles. More to follow!

Safewards comes to Cardiff

Sadly for me I couldn’t be at Geoff Brennan‘s meet-up today with Cardiff and Value UHB mental health nurses to talk about the Safewards study and its implications. But here’s a message Geoff sent, and a fine photo, to mark the occasion:

Making psychiatric wards safer and more peaceful

Safewards, led by Professor Len Bowers, has been funded through a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grant for Applied Research and aims to make psychiatric hospitals more peaceful, safer and therapeutic.Twice in the last year I have had the opportunity to hear Len present the thinking behind the Safewards model, outline the design and methods of the Safewards randomised controlled trial and talk through its main findings.

Following the link from the Safewards logo above takes you to the project’s website. This is packed full of useful information, including the detail of the simple nursing practices which Len and his team found reduced rates of conflict and containment in the hospital wards participating in their study. For an accessible introduction to what Safewards is all about, there is also this video in which Len presents his work to an audience in Melbourne in October 2013:

As I suggested in a meeting yesterday with esteemed Cardiff and Vale University Health Board colleagues, this really is exceptionally important new knowledge for mental health nurses. Now that the main trial is complete Len and his collaborators look to be devoting much of their energies to helping inpatient mental health staff and managers make use of the Safewards interventions in their everyday practice. I wish them every success, and am encouraging people to find out more and to spread the word.