Individual Placement and Support (IPS) effectively helps clients with severe mental illness to obtain competitive jobs. However, one IPS model component, ongoing support for clients who obtain employment, has not been empirically validated. We hypothesized that frequency of employment specialist contact would be associated with job tenure. IPS employment specialists provided monthly data on 142 clients who had obtained employment, recording client contacts and competitive employment outcomes over a 2-year follow-up. Prototypically, employment specialists made weekly contact immediately after a job start, within a few months reduced this to monthly, and maintained this frequency thereafter. Frequency of contact was positively correlated with months of work during follow-up (r = 0.27). IPS typically provides support for 1 year or more after clients begin the job. Ongoing IPS support from employment specialists promotes continued employment. Future research should identify characteristics of effective employment specialist interventions and examine other sources of support.
"In fact, little direct evidence exists supporting the hypothesis that ongoing support contributes to job maintenance, even though it is one of the core tenets of the IPS model. In a recent study Bond and Kukla  found a moderate correlation between intensity of employment specialist support and duration of employment, but an important question not answered by their study is whether other sources of support, such as mental health case managers and natural supports, such as family members, can substitute for or augment the assistance of employment specialists. In another study, McGuire and collaborators  found that the total IPS contacts were positively associated with weeks worked and that the client background characteristics did not predict service intensity. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: THE PRESENT STUDY WAS CONDUCTED IN A VOCATIONAL INTEGRATION SERVICE OF A NORTHERN ITALIAN TOWN WITH TWO MAJOR AIMS: to assess vocational integration programs undertaken from 1(st) January 2004 to 1(st) January 2007; and to identify job tenure-associated predictors.
This is a retrospective study; we collected data such as gender, age, duration, type and outcome of the vocational integration program, and number of interventions performed by the vocational integration service. Self-report questionnaires were also used to assess the satisfaction of users, caregivers, practitioners, and of the company contacts involved in the study.
The service has enrolled 84 users during the observation period. Out of these users, 64.3% of them still had their jobs after three years. Users, caregivers and company contacts expressed high levels of satisfaction for the support received by the vocational integration service. The company expressed less satisfaction for the collaboration received by the Departments of Mental Health (DMHs) that coached the users. The only variable associated to the outcome was the number of interventions that the users received before their placement on the job.
Despite all the limits of this study, its results show that the chance of taking advantage of a supported job placement service has likely proven itself effective in helping people with mental disorders to obtain and maintain a competitive employment. Our results, however, also point to the necessity of implementing newer strategies meant to develop a greater integration among all services dealing with mentally ill people.
Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health 01/2013; 10(1):9-17. DOI:10.2174/1745017901410010009
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