‘How do we know if this is the best?’ Mental health-care professionals' views on national guidelines for psychosocial interventions

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Abstract

National guidelines are released regularly, and professionals are expected to adopt and implement them. However, studies dealing with mental health-care professionals' views about guidelines are sparse. The aim of the present study was to highlight mental health-care staff's views on the Swedish national guidelines for ‘psychosocial interventions for schizophrenia or schizophrenia-type symptoms’ and their implementation. The study took place in the southeast parts of Sweden, and data were collected through five group interviews consisting of 16 professionals working either in the county council or in the municipalities. The transcribed text was analysed by content analysis, revealing two categories. The first category ‘a challenge to the practice of care as known’ reflected that the release of guidelines could be perceived as a challenge to prevailing care and culture. The second category ‘anticipating change to come from above’ mirrored views on how staff expected the implementation process to flow from top to bottom. To facilitate working in accordance with guidelines, we suggest that future guidelines should be accompanied by an implementation plan, where the educational needs of frontline staff are taken into account. There is also a need for policy makers and managers to assume responsibility in supporting the implementation of evidence-based practice.

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