The mental health expert patient: findings from a pilot study of a generic chronic condition self-management programme for people with mental illness
Pols, Rene Gaston
Lawrence, John Stephen
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Background Less than optimal outcomes and escalating costs for chronic conditions including mental illness have prompted calls for innovative approaches to chronic illness management. Aims This study aimed to test the feasibility and utility of combining a generic, clinician administered and peer-led self-management group approach for people with serious mental illness. Method General practitioners and mental health case managers used a patient-centered care model (the Flinders Model) to assist 38 patients with serious mental illness to identify their self-management needs, and match these with interventions including Stanford peer-led, self-management groups and one-to-one peer support. Self-management and quality of life outcomes were measured and qualitative evaluation elicited feedback from all participants. Results Collaborative care planning, combined with a problems and goals focused approach, resulted in improved self-management and mental functioning at 3 to 6 months follow up. The Stanford self-management course was applicable and acceptable to patients with serious mental illnesses. Qualitative feedback was highly supportive of this approach. Conclusions Generic, structured assessment and care planning approaches, resulting in self-management education targeted to the individual, improved self-management and quality of life. Patients and service providers reported considerable gains despite the challenges associated with introducing a generic model within the mental health and general practice sector.
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