Article

How do people who receive assertive community treatment experience this service?

Occupational Therapy Program, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal (Impact Factor: 1.16). 02/2005; 29(1):18-24. DOI: 10.2975/29.2005.18.24
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Using a participatory research approach this study examined Assertive Community Treatment as experienced by service recipients. Overall participants were positive about their involvement with ACT and their experiences reflected critical ingredients of the model. The analysis revealed seven ways the ACT promoted community adjustment. Unhelpful aspects of the experience included staff requiring more training in particular service areas, conflicts over money and medications, stigmatizing aspects of the service, and authoritative practices of individual staff. Services promoting community participation were less well-developed than clinical approaches. Tensions inherent in receiving ACT services were related to the participants' negotiation of personal and social consequences of mental illness while striving for autonomy, community participation and inclusion.

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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE This study explored the range of interventions and the use of more intrusive techniques by staff of assertive community treatment (ACT) teams to promote engagement, manage problem behaviors, and reinforce positive behaviors among patients. Individual and organizational characteristics that may be associated with these practices were identified. METHODS Between January and March 2006, clinicians (N=239) from 34 ACT teams participated in a one-time survey about their intervention strategies with patients, perceptions about the ACT team environment, and beliefs about persons with severe mental illness. RESULTS Significant variation existed in the types of interventions employed across teams. The less intrusive strategies, including positive inducements and verbal guidance, were the most common. Other strategies that placed limits on patients but that were still considered less intrusive-such as medication monitoring and money management-were also common. Clinicians who reported working in more demoralized climates and having negative perceptions of mental illness were more likely to endorse leveraged or intrusive interventions. CONCLUSIONS The findings of this study suggest significant variation across teams in the use of intervention strategies. Both perceptions of a demoralized organizational climate and stigmatizing beliefs about mental illness were correlated with the use of more intrusive intervention strategies. Future research on the role and appropriateness of more intrusive interventions in mental health treatment and the impact of such interventions on patient outcomes is warranted.
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