Mental health crisis and respite services: service user and carer aspirations

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LYONS C., HOPLEY P., BURTON C. R. & HORROCKS J. (2009) Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing16, 424–433 Mental health crisis and respite services: service user and carer aspirations

There is emerging evidence that crisis resolution services can provide alternatives to hospital admission, reducing demand on inpatient beds. Following a public consultation exercise in Lancashire (England), a team of nurses undertook a study, using interactive research methodology, to gain an understanding of how users and carers define a crisis and what range of crisis services, resources and interventions service users and carers thought would help avoid unnecessary hospital admission. Data collection comprised postal questionnaires and 24 group meetings with service users and carers, which were held during 2006. Data were analysed, and seven themes were identified: (1) definitions of a crisis; (2) access to services; (3) interventions; (4) range of services required (before, during and after crisis); (5) place of treatment; (6) recovery and rehabilitation; and (7) community support. We conclude that expressed preferences of service users and carers for pre-emptive services that are delivered flexibly will present a challenge for service commissioners and providers, particularly where stringent access criteria are used. Home-based pre-emptive services that reduce the need for unnecessary hospital treatment may avoid progression to social exclusion of service users.

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