Joint working in community mental health teams: implementation of an integrated care pathway.
ABSTRACT Abstract Integration of community mental health services is a key policy objective that aims to increase quality and efficiency of care. Integrated care pathways (ICPs) are a mechanism designed to formalise multi-agency working at an operational level and are currently being applied to mental health services. Evidence regarding the impact of this tool to support joint working is mixed, and there is limited evidence regarding the suitability of ICPs for complex, community-based services. The present study was set in one primary care trust (PCT) in Scotland that is currently implementing an ICP for community mental health teams (CMHTs) across the region. The aim of the study was to investigate professionals' experiences and views on the implementation of an ICP within adult CMHTs in order to generate learning points for other organisations which are considering developing and implementing such systems. The study used qualitative methods which comprised of individual interviews with three CMHT leaders and two service development managers, as well as group interviews with members of four adult CMHTs. Data was analysed using the constant comparison method. Participants reported positive views regarding joint working and the role of an ICP in theory. However, in practice, teams were not implementing the ICP. Lack of integration at higher organisational levels was found to create conflicts within the teams which became explicit in response to the ICP. Implementation was also hindered by lack of resources for ongoing support, team development and change management. In conclusion, the study suggests that operational systems such as ICPs do not address and cannot overcome wider organisational barriers to integration of mental health services. Integrated care pathways need to be developed with strategic input as well as practitioner involvement and ownership. Team development, education about integration and change management are essential if ICPs are to foster and support joint working in integrated teams.
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ABSTRACT: This article examines the translation of a clinical governance concept – integrated care pathways (ICPs) – into an infrastructural technology. Building on previous work, the application of boundary object theory is extended in this article to argue that stakeholder enrolment in pathway methodology may be less thoroughgoing than originally assumed. Pathways have effectively aligned management and nursing interests around a quality agenda and nurses have emerged as the leaders in this field, but doctors have rather lower levels of engagement. It is suggested that the contradictory logics inherent in pathway philosophy (primarily as these relate to ‘evidence’) and the social organisation of ICP development foster a transformation of the concept when this is translated into the technology, creating a negative boundary object from the perspective of doctors. Medicine is a powerful actor in health care, which is consequential for whether pathways, as designated boundary objects, become boundary objects-in-use. It also has implications for the diffusion of the concept as a mechanism of clinical governance and the credibility of nurses as emergent leaders in this field. Qualitative case studies of ICP development processes undertaken in the UK National Health Service and ethnographic research on the ICP community provide the empirical foundations for the analysis.Sociology of Health & Illness 03/2014; · 1.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Individuals with serious mental illness are at an increased risk for developing co-morbid chronic physical illnesses, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This article is a descriptive piece about an intervention to decrease physical health risks in this population through a partnership effort between a primary care clinic and mental health agency in rural Placer County, California. The project was conducted as a part of the CalMEND Pilot Collaborative to Integrate Primary Care and Mental Health Services, which took place in five California counties in 2010-2011. A description of the program elements, conceptual models, key measures, and the process of program implementation is provided. Benefits were observed in areas of quality assurance, intra- and inter-agency teamwork, and access to adequate primary care for this population.Social Work in Health Care 02/2014; 53(2):156-182. · 0.62 Impact Factor