Plan4Recovery used qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the relationships between recovery, quality of life, social support and shared decision-making amongst people using social care services in Wales. The project team included mental health researchers with practitioner backgrounds, experience of using services, and of mixed methods studies. The paper, published in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, is in gold open access form which makes it free to download.
For a shortcut, here’s the abstract:
Mental health care is a complex system that includes social care organisations providing support for people with continuing needs. The relationship over time between decisional conflict, social support, quality of life and recovery outcomes across two time periods for people experiencing mental health problems in receipt of social care was investigated.
This is a mixed methods study comprised of a quantitative survey at two time points using measures of decisional conflict, social support, recovery and quality of life in a random sample (n = 122) using social care services in Wales, UK. In addition, 16 qualitative case studies were developed from data collected from individuals, a supportive other and a care worker (n = 41) to investigate trajectories of care. Survey responses were statistically analysed using SPSS and case study data were thematically analysed.
Participants reported increasing decisional conflict and decreasing social support, recovery and quality of life over the two time points. Linear regression indicated that higher recovery scores predict better quality of life ratings and as ratings for social support decline this is associated with lower quality of life. Correlational analysis indicated that lower decisional conflict is associated with higher quality of life. Thematic analysis indicated that ‘connectedness and recovery’ is a product of ‘navigating the system of care’ and the experience of ‘choice and involvement’ achieved by individuals seeking help.
These results indicate that quality of life for people experiencing mental health difficulties is positively associated with social support and recovery and negatively associated with decisional delay.
The 21st Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research (NPNR) conference took place on Thursday and Friday, September 17th and 18th 2015, with the theme of ‘Building new relationships in mental health nursing: opportunities and challenges’. The occasion was a fine one, with just short of 200 people in attendance. For those not able to make it but wanting to know more, the programme can still be found here and the book of abstracts here.
I’ve been on the NPNR scientific and organising committee this year, courtesy of my membership of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK. This afforded me the chance to welcome delegates at the conference opening, and to draw attention to the just-breaking news of Professor Len Bowers’ planned retirement at the start of 2016. Len has been an inspirational mental health nurse researcher: more on this later.
Introduced by Professor Liz Hughes as day one conference chair, this year’s keynotes commenced with Professor Karina Lovell giving an overview of the current state of knowledge in remote psychological therapies. Karina is a world leader in research into interventions for people with commoner mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, as well as being actively involved in services and practice through her work with organisations like Anxiety UK and others. For an example of important new research in this area check out the REEACT trial into computerised CBT for people with depression. This is an important study which Karina both referenced in her talk, and is actively involved in.
Dr Geraldine Strathdee, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Mental Health, delivered a second keynote on using mental health intelligence. She praised the work of nurses, and made a strong case for mental illness prevention. Geraldine also reminded delegates of the high rates of premature mortality of people living with mental health difficulties, and the continued exclusion of many from employment. As routes to improvement she pointed to leadership, and the value of data to benchmark and drive up standards.
Day one’s final keynote presentation was delivered by André Tomlin, founder of the Mental Elf website and author of this pre-conference blogpost. André is an information scientist, who illustrated the challenge of keeping up-to-date with the evidence using this slide. Podcasts, social media, tweetchats and other new technologies are all part of André’s solution to the challenge of information overload, and as strategies to help plug the leaky evidence pipeline. The National Elf Service, of which the Mental Elf is a part, plays a big part in this area; for an overview of what’s on offer, here’s one of André’s videos:
Chair for day two was Professor Doug MacInnes, one of whose duties was to introduce Professor Shôn Lewis from the Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health at the University of Manchester as the deliverer of the conference’s fourth keynote lecture. Shôn spoke about current approaches to the care and treatment of people with psychosis and schizophrenia, using findings from the non-commercial CATIE and CUtLASS trials to suggest that newer antipsychotics are generally no better than first generation antipsychotics. Shôn also referenced the SoCRATES trial to evidence the idea that outcomes are associated with the quality of the therapeutic alliance, rather than with the specific therapeutic approach used. SoCRATES, I have now discovered, compared the effectiveness of (1) CBT plus routine care, (2) supportive counselling plus routine care and (3) routine care alone for people with schizophrenia. Shôn devoted the last part of his presentation to ClinTouch (a mobile phone app to record and upload symptoms) and CareLoop (which is testing if ClinTouch can be connecteded to NHS IT systems and to everyday practice).
#NPNR2015’s final keynote was delivered by Mark Brown, and the full text of his talk can be read here. Mark edited One in Four magazine, and is now development director of Social Spider, runs the Day in the Life project and is part of the team behind the WeMHNurses Twitter meeting place. Drawing on personal experience of its usefulness he described digital technology as less of a possible future than an unfolding present. One example of tech in action, which Mark referred to in his talk, is his own Doc Ready website. This was designed to help people prepare for discussions with doctors about their mental health difficulties.
That’s summary enough of the keynotes. From the concurrent sessions I participated in, chaired or observed I’ll first start with the SUGAR meets Dragons’ Den workshop. Three volunteers – Jason Hickey, Laoise Renwick and Cher Hallett – pitched their research ideas to SUGAR members. In the event, SUGAR offered their time and support to all three, but also voted Cher’s plans (on intramuscular injections) as the best of the batch. In the second concurrent I’m picking out, Julian Hunt, Alan Meudell and Michael Coffey presented reflections from Plan4Recovery. This project, which I’m also part of, is examining shared decision-making and social networks for people using secondary mental health services. And, finally, a word about our COCAPP symposium. This started with an overview paper from Alan Simpson, was followed by a presentation from Michael Coffey titled, ‘Ordinary risks and accepted fictions: how contrasting and competing priorities work in risk assessment care planning’ and concluded with a paper from Sally Barlow and me on participants’ views and experiences of recovery and personalisation.
Organised by Laoise Renwick, this year for the first time the NPNR conference featured a poster trail. This worked well. Displayed posters were themed, and during lunchtime on day two guided delegates took opportunities to speak with those associated with them. Along the way I spotted some interesting posters from the RCN, drawing attention to an upcoming history of mental health nursing exhibition (organised with lots of help from Ian Hulatt) about to launch in London.
Finally, a word on Len Bowers. At Doug MacInnes’ invitation, Len took to the lectern during the afternoon of day two to confirm his upcoming retirement and his plans for the future. These include (we learned) playing the flute, travel, photography and electronic music-making. Very nice. Len is a generous, principled and humble man whose contribution to creating new knowledge for mental health nursing has been immense. Take Safewards as an example. This is Len’s NIHR-funded programme grant, findings from which are changing practice in the UK and around the world. That’s some achievement, in my book. We wish him well.
Lots of interesting things to report from a packed week. Monday took me to a meet-up with research-minded nurses from Cardiff and Vale UHB, the first of a series of events organised by Professor Lesley Lowes aimed at supporting research capacity and engagement amongst practitioners. Here’s the flyer:
Elsewhere in yesterday’s MHNAUK meeting there was a lively discussion around the promotion of physical health and well-being in people using mental health services, and a review of this year’s NPNR conference. Plans are also being laid for next year’s event, with opportunities about to be notified for people interested in becoming more involved via membership of the conference organising committee.
Plenty going on in the last week or so. I had the chance to join pre-registration mental health nurses and occupational therapists for a second day as they made preparations for an interprofessional event scheduled for early December. Some of these students have also been giving me drafts of assessed work to comment on, but as the deadline for receipt of these is first thing next week I expect a deluge then. ’twas ever thus.
Elsewhere there has been RiSC reviewing to crack on with, assignment marking, and peer review reports to both consider and write. I’ve also put myself in the frame to act as a reviewer for another university’s proposed new MSc mental health programme, this being the kind of curriculum work I haven’t had the chance to do for a while.
I’m not normally one for formal, suit-and-boot, events, but made an exception last Wednesday (November 27th) to join a posse of colleagues from the School of Healthcare Sciences at the RCN Wales Nurse of the Year awards. These took place at Cardiff City Hall, and the overall winner was Cardiff and Vale UHB ward sister Ruth Owens. Congratulations, Ruth. Congratulations, too, to the individual category winners: including Andy Lodwick (also from Cardiff and Vale) for picking up the Mental Health and Learning Disabilities award and Dr Carolyn Middleton, doctoral graduate from what was the Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, for winning the Research in Nursing award.
And to close this summary post: via the twitter grapevine I see that the RCN is now giving early notification of the Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research 2014 conference. This will take place at Warwick University on the 18th and 19th of September. I’ll post a link to the call for abstracts once this appears, but for now will reproduce this extract from the event website:
This year  is the 20th international NPNR conference and it’s going to be a celebration.
We wish to celebrate and promote some of the outstanding mental health nursing research that shapes mental health policy and nursing practice across the world. We will also acknowledge some of the best psychiatric and mental health nursing research that helped create the strong foundation for our work today. And we will invite delegates to look ahead to map out the future for mental health nursing research, education and practice.
A quick post. Today I returned to work from a fortnight away in the knowledge that, at the start of next month, the Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies will be joining with the School of Healthcare Studies to become the new School of Health Care Sciences (but not the Cardiff School of Health Care Sciences, unless I’ve missed something?). This change will bring academic nurses, midwives, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, radiographers, operating department practitioners and medical photographers (and all our students) together in a single department. I hope I’ve not missed anyone out in this list: apologies if so.
I’m sure there will be some headaches and hiccups along the way as people and processes adjust, but I understand the idea behind this move and broadly welcome it. Hopefully both research and education will benefit, and it will be good to work more directly with people who have similar interests (in the mental health field, for example) but who happen not to be nurses.
Anyway, more immediately today was the small matter of picking up some important research threads. This included preparing for tomorrow’s service user researcher meeting, in which we’ll be discussing (and using) interview schedules in preparation for fieldwork. I also had the chance to correct proofs for a new article, which I’ll blog about in time. But now it’s late, so I’m off.