The implementation of the Care Programme Approach for service users with a learning disability. Building Bridges to the same Old Horizons?


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Abstract

Accessible summaryWhat is known on the subject?People with mental health problems and learning disabilities often do not receive the care they require.The Care Programme Approach (CPA) is meant to help with this. However, there have been many problems in the past with the introduction of the CPA into mental health services.There is no literature which explores what factors help or hinder the introduction of the CPA for service users with a mental health and learning disability, especially from the perspective of those responsible for overseeing this process.What does this article add to existing knowledge?The implementation of the CPA for this service user group is fragmented, and services are not working together in partnership.The CPA is being effectively implemented for people who are deemed to present with a risk to themselves or others. If a service user does not present with a high risk, they are not provided care through the CPA.Service users were not involved in the development or introduction of the policy in practice.What are the implications for practice?Services need to work better at engaging service users when they are developing and introducing new policies.Rather than applying the CPA for all service users, across all services, it should only be considered for those deemed to present with a high risk. It is effectively implemented for these people.For those not deemed to present with a high risk, services should consider using alternative service user led care planning frameworks.Introduction:The Care Programme Approach was introduced in England to ensure services met the needs of people with mental health problems and a concurrent learning disability (dual diagnosis). The CPA implementation was patchy and services failed to work in partnership.Aim:This study aimed to explore the factors shaping the recent implementation of the CPA for service users with a dual diagnosis.Method:A single case study approach was undertaken. Data were collected through interview (n = 26), documentary analysis (n = 64), steering group observation (n = 3) and the Partnership Assessment Tool (n = 26). Data were analysed using the Framework Approach.Results:The CPA was only effectively implemented for people who were deemed to present with a high level of risk.Discussion:The problems associated with implementation in the 1990s continue more recently for those with a dual diagnosis. The CPA has become more aligned with risk management protocols than supporting individual service user's recovery.Implications for practice:Service users should be involved in the implementation of policies which have an impact on their recovery. The CPA should only be applied for those who present with high-risk issues, whilst alternative user-led initiatives should be considered for other service users.

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