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Intensive support teams (ISTs) are recommended for individuals with intellectual disabilities who display behaviours that challenge. However, there is currently little evidence about the clinical and cost-effectiveness of IST models operating in England.
To investigate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of IST models.
We carried out a cohort study to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of two previously identified IST models (independent and enhanced) in England. Adult participants (n = 226) from 21 ISTs (ten independent and 11 enhanced) were enrolled. The primary outcome was change in challenging behaviour between baseline and 9 months as measured by the Aberrant Behaviour Checklist-Community version 2.
We found no statistically significant differences between models for the primary outcome (adjusted β = 4.27; 95% CI −6.34 to 14.87; P = 0.430) or any secondary outcomes. Quality-adjusted life-years (0.0158; 95% CI: −0.0088 to 0.0508) and costs (£3409.95; 95% CI −£9957.92 to £4039.89) of the two models were comparable.
The study provides evidence that both models were associated with clinical improvement for similar costs at follow-up. We recommend that the choice of service model should rest with local services. Further research should investigate the critical components of IST care to inform the development of fidelity criteria, and policy makers should consider whether roll out of such teams should be mandated.
Although the research base on mental health in intellectual disabilities is advancing, there are long-standing barriers that hinder successful completion of funded studies. A variety of stakeholders hold the key to mitigating the challenges and arriving at sustainable solutions that involve researchers, experts by experience, clinicians and many others in the research pathway. Lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic can also contribute to improvements in the conduct of research in the medium to long term. People with an intellectual disability and mental health conditions deserve high standards of evidence-based care.
Approximately 18% of adults with intellectual disabilities living in the community display behaviours that challenge. Intensive support teams (ISTs) have been recommended to provide high-quality responsive care aimed at avoiding unnecessary admissions and reducing lengthy in-patient stays.
To identify and describe the geographical distribution and characteristics of ISTs, and to develop a typology of IST service models in England.
We undertook a national cross-sectional survey of 73 ISTs. A hierarchical cluster analysis was performed based on six prespecified grouping factors (mode of referrals, size of case-load, use of outcome measures, staff composition, hours of operation and setting of service). A simplified form of thematic analysis was used to explore free-text responses.
Cluster analysis identified two models of IST provision: (a) independent and (b) enhanced provision based around a community intellectual disability service. ISTs aspire to adopt person-centred care, mostly use the framework of positive behaviour support for behaviour that challenges, and report concerns about organisational and wider context issues.
This is the first study to examine the delivery of intensive support to people with intellectual disability and behaviour that challenges. A two-cluster model of ISTs was found to have statistical validity and clinical utility. The clinical heterogeneity indicates that further evaluation of these service models is needed to establish their clinical and cost-effectiveness.
The START (STrAtegies for RelaTives) intervention reduced depressive and anxiety symptoms of family carers of relatives with dementia at home over 2 years and was cost-effective.
To assess the clinical effectiveness over 6 years and the impact on costs and care home admission.
We conducted a randomised, parallel group, superiority trial recruiting from 4 November 2009 to 8 June 2011 with 6-year follow-up (trial registration: ISCTRN 70017938). A total of 260 self-identified family carers of people with dementia were randomised 2:1 to START, an eight-session manual-based coping intervention delivered by supervised psychology graduates, or to treatment as usual (TAU). The primary outcome was affective symptoms (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, total score (HADS-T)). Secondary outcomes included patient and carer service costs and care home admission.
In total, 222 (85.4%) of 173 carers randomised to START and 87 to TAU were included in the 6-year clinical efficacy analysis. Over 72 months, compared with TAU, the intervention group had improved scores on HADS-T (adjusted mean difference −2.00 points, 95% CI −3.38 to −0.63). Patient-related costs (START versus TAU, respectively: median £5759 v. £16 964 in the final year; P = 0.07) and carer-related costs (median £377 v. £274 in the final year) were not significantly different between groups nor were group differences in time until care home (intensity ratio START:TAU was 0.88, 95% CI 0.58–1.35).
START is clinically effective and this effect lasts for 6 years without increasing costs. This is the first intervention with such a long-term clinical and possible economic benefit and has potential to make a difference to individual carers.
Declarations of interest
G.L., Z.W. and C.C. are supported by the UCLH National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre. G.L. and P.R. were in part supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) North Thames at Bart's Health NHS Trust. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. Z.W. reports during the conduct of the study; personal fees from GE Healthcare, grants from GE Healthcare, grants from Lundbeck, other from GE Healthcare, outside the submitted work.
Depression is a common and costly comorbidity in dementia. There are very few data on the cost-effectiveness of antidepressants for depression in dementia and their effects on carer outcomes.
To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of sertraline and mirtazapine compared with placebo for depression in dementia.
A pragmatic, multicentre, randomised placebo-controlled trial with a parallel cost-effectiveness analysis (trial registration: ISRCTN88882979 and EudraCT 2006-000105-38). The primary cost-effectiveness analysis compared differences in treatment costs for patients receiving sertraline, mirtazapine or placebo with differences in effectiveness measured by the primary outcome, total Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD) score, over two time periods: 0–13 weeks and 0–39 weeks. The secondary evaluation was a cost-utility analysis using quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) computed from the Euro-Qual (EQ-5D) and societal weights over those same periods.
There were 339 participants randomised and 326 with costs data (111 placebo, 107 sertraline, 108 mirtazapine). For the primary outcome, decrease in depression, mirtazapine and sertraline were not cost-effective compared with placebo. However, examining secondary outcomes, the time spent by unpaid carers caring for participants in the mirtazapine group was almost half that for patients receiving placebo (6.74 v. 12.27 hours per week) or sertraline (6.74 v. 12.32 hours per week). Informal care costs over 39 weeks were £1510 and £1522 less for the mirtazapine group compared with placebo and sertraline respectively.
In terms of reducing depression, mirtazapine and sertraline were not cost-effective for treating depression in dementia. However, mirtazapine does appear likely to have been cost-effective if costing includes the impact on unpaid carers and with quality of life included in the outcome. Unpaid (family) carer costs were lower with mirtazapine than sertraline or placebo. This may have been mediated via the putative ability of mirtazapine to ameliorate sleep disturbances and anxiety. Given the priority and the potential value of supporting family carers of people with dementia, further research is warranted to investigate the potential of mirtazapine to help with behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia and in supporting carers.
Applied behaviour analysis by a specialist team plus standard treatment for
adults with intellectual disability displaying challenging behaviour was
reported to be clinically and cost-effective after 6 months. In a 2-year
follow-up of the same trial cohort, participants receiving the specialist
intervention had significantly lower total and subdomain Aberrant Behavior
Checklist scores than those receiving usual care alone. After adjustment for
baseline covariates there was no significant difference in costs between the
The cost of caring for people with intellectual disability currently
makes up a large proportion of healthcare spending in western Europe, and
may rise in line with the increasing numbers of people with intellectual
disability now living to old age.
To report service use and costs of older people with intellectual
disability and explore the influence of sociodemographic and
We collected data on receipt and costs of accommodation, health and
personal care, physical as well as mental illness, dementia, sensory
impairment and disability in a representative sample of adults with
intellectual disability aged 60 years and older (n =
The average weekly cost in GBP per older person was £790 (£41 080 per
year). Accommodation accounted for 74%. Overall costs were highest for
those living in congregate settings. Gender, intellectual disability
severity, hearing impairment, physical disorder and mental illness had
significant independent relationships with costs. Mental illness was
associated with an additional weekly cost of £202.
Older adults with intellectual disability comprise about 0.15–0.25% of
the population of England but consume up to 5% of the total personal care
budget. Interventions that meet needs and might prove to be
cost-effective should be sought.
Cognitive difficulties are prevalent in people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and are associated with poor long-term functioning.
To evaluate the effectiveness of cognitive remediation therapy on cognitive difficulties experienced by people with schizophrenia.
Participants with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, a social behaviour problem and a cognitive difficulty (n=85) were randomised to 40 sessions of cognitive remediation or treatment as usual in a single-blind randomised controlled trial. Working memory, cognitive flexibility and planning, were measured at weeks 0, 14 and 40.
There were durable improvements in working memory (advantage 1.33 points, 95% CI 0.43–2.16, standardised effect size 0.34) as well as an indication of improvement in cognitive flexibility. Memory improvement predicted improvement in social functioning. Costs were lower in the cognitive remediation group following therapy but rose at follow-up. However, cost-effectiveness analyses showed that improvements in memory were achieved at little additional cost.
Cognitive remediation therapy is associated with durable improvements in memory, which in turn are associated with social functioning improvements in people with severe mental illness.
Persistent antisocial behaviour is the most common mental health problem in childhood and has widespread effects, yet little is known about what it costs.
To identify the costs incurred by children with antisocial behaviour in the UK, and who pays these costs.
Eighty children aged 3–8 years referred to mental health services were studied using the Client Service Receipt Inventory for Childhood.
The mean annual total cost was $ 5960 (median 4597, range 48–19 940). The services used were mainly the National Health Service, education and voluntary agencies, but the greatest cost burden, $4637, was borne by the family Higher cost was predicted by more severe behaviour and being male.
The annual cost of severe antisocial behaviour in childhood in the UK is substantial and widespread, involving several agencies, but the burden falls most heavily on the family Wider uptake of evidence-based interventions is likely to lead to considerable economic benefits in the short term, and probably even more in the long term.
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