The Mental Health Act 2001 has introduced significant changes to the process of admission to hospital for individuals affected by mental health disorders. This study aimed to determine whether a newly designed smartphone application could result in an improvement in service users’ knowledge of their rights compared with the paper booklet.
This was a randomized study conducted in an outpatient and day-hospital in North Dublin. Participants were randomized to receive the information booklet as either a smartphone application or in the paper form. A questionnaire which was scored from 0 to 10 was devised and was completed at baseline and at 1-week follow-up.
A total of 42 individuals completed the baseline and follow-up questionnaire and of these, 53.7% were female and the mean age was 38.2 years (s.d.±13.5). A total of 34.1% had a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder, 29.3% had a depressive disorder and 22% had bipolar-affective disorder. The mean score before the intervention in the total group was 3.5 (s.d.±2.2) and this increased to 5.8 (s.d.±2.2) at follow-up. Participants randomized to the smartphone application improving by a mean of 2.5 (s.d.±2.5), while those randomized to the booklet improving by a mean of 2.3 (s.d.±2.6), which was not statistically significant.
Both forms of the information booklet showed improvement in service users’ knowledge of their legal rights. It is possible that each individual will have preference for either a paper form or a smartphone form and this study suggests that both forms should be offered to each individual service user.
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