Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 June 2014
Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) has developed globally as a model of community care for the severely mentally ill. However, in the United Kingdom there is mixed evidence regarding improvements in outcome and concerns about ACT teams having poor fidelity to the original ACT model.
Objective: This study presents the fidelity characteristics of an established ACT team serving Gloucester City. It describes service user demographic and illness data and compares these findings to other important studies in the United Kingdom.
Method: The Dartmouth Assertive Community Treatment Scale was applied to rate the Gloucester ACT team's fidelity characteristics. The Gloucester Caseload Project Demographic Pro-Forma was collected from all of the team's 79 service users.
Results: The population of severely mentally ill ACT service users in Gloucester City were an older and more “disabled” group compared to the classic ACT studies. Furthermore, although findings indicate a high level of fidelity to the original ACT model, the team it is still associated with high levels of inpatient treatment.
Conclusion: High fidelity ACT services appear to be associated with high admission rates. Therefore teams should not be viewed as alternatives to hospital admission but have goals of improving engagement and social functioning. Furthermore, findings have allowed the team to benchmark its service and target areas for further service development. More consistent reporting of fidelity data on ACT research would facilitate comparison across different services.
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