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Measuring outcomes is becoming an increasingly standard (and highly complex) part of what mental health services are expected to do. Practising psychiatrists will need to have a good understanding of approaches to outcome measurement: used well, they have the potential to amplify the patient voice, promote good-quality services and facilitate research. We discuss what constitutes an outcome measure, the different ways that such measures can be obtained and the mechanisms for assessing the quality and appropriateness of an outcome measure. We outline the rapidly evolving research and policy context regarding outcome measurement, with particular reference to the UK's National Health Service. We also consider the potential pitfalls to outcome measurement, such as added clinical burden, inappropriate incentivisation of behaviour and incorrect interpretation of results. We discuss ways that such difficulties can be avoided or their effects mitigated.
Studies of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for psychosis demonstrate that African-Caribbean and Black African patients have higher dropout rates and poor outcomes from treatment (Rathod et al., 2005).
Aims & objectives
The main aim of the study was to produce a culturally sensitive adaption of an existing CBT manual for therapists working with patients with psychosis from specified ethinic minority communities (African-Caribbean, Black-African/Black British, and South Asian Muslims). This will be based on gaining understanding of the way members (lay and service users) of these minority communities view psychosis, its origin, and management including their cultural influences, values and attitudes.
This qualitative study consisted of individual semi-structured interviews with patients with psychosis (n = 15); focus groups with lay members from selected ethnic communities (n = 52); focus groups or semi-structured interviews with CBT therapists (n = 22) and mental health practitioners who work with patients from the ethnic communities (n = 25). Data was analysed thematically using evolving themes and content analysis. NVivo 8 was used to manage and explore data.
Respondent groups agreed that CBT would be an acceptable treatment if culturally adapted. This would incorporate culturally-based patient health beliefs, attributions concerning psychosis, attention to help seeking pathways and technical adjustments.
While individualization of therapy is generally accepted as a principle, in practice, therapists require an understanding of patient-related factors that are culturally bound and influence the way the patient perceives or responds to therapy.
CBT for psychosis has been developed over the past two decades and is now recommended by most clinical guidelines for schizophrenia internationally.
Aims & objectives
To provide an up-date on advances and controversies in CBT for psychosis.
Evidence from recent meta-analyses (including Lynch et al, 2010) and randomised controlled trials will be reviewed. These have generally demonstrated effectiveness in early and treatment-resistant schizophrenia of CBT, and other specific indications, e.g. co-morbid substance misuse, aggressive behaviour, command hallucinations. Treatment is based on engaging the patient in a therapeutic relationship, developing an agreed formulation and then the use of a range of techniques for hallucinations, delusions and negative symptoms.
Evidence of effectiveness in treatment-resistant psychosis remains strong but some areas for intervention remain under-researched. A series of studies are on-going which will provide more information about effective ways of working.
CBT is a very important but under-used intervention which can make clinically significant differences to patient's lives.
The term, care pathway, has been used to describe multidisciplinary/ multi-agency outline of anticipated care, placed in an appropriate timeframe, to help a patient with a specific condition or set of symptoms move progressively through a clinical experience to positive outcomes. In practice, a multitude of disparate projects have produced outputs ranging from pages of interconnected boxes and arrows with rather basic entries to thick and indigestible wads of paper. Certainly the idea of a ‘mental health care pathway’ accessible and used by the general public, service users, carers, primary and secondary care has seemed overwhelmingly complex and unworkable.
Aims & objectives
To make relevant service and clinical information available when and where in a person's progress or a clinician treatment path it was needed.
Website hyperlinks allow linkage within websites and to other websites with relevant information (e.g. ICD10, NICE guidelines, and Patient information leaflets). A development prototype funded by the UK NHS has been established to form the basis for a website to be launched in mid-2011 (www.mentalhealth.southcentral.nhs.uk).
The prototype contains links to evidence-based information on maintaining mental health and on ‘coping with problems’. Service Pathways describe detail of processes occurring in mental health care. Diagnostic care pathways start as broad categories [Kingdon et al, 2010] with links to diagnosis, medication (e.g. connects to the National Formulary) and psychological management sites.
Web technology allows information about mental health care pathways to be accessed more systematically and readily and has application internationally.
In the UK, mental illness is a major source of disease burden costing in the region of £105 billion pounds. mHealth is a novel and emerging field in psychiatric and psychological care for the treatment of mental health difficulties such as psychosis.
To develop an intelligent real-time therapy (iRTT) mobile intervention (TechCare) which assesses participant's symptoms in real-time and responds with a personalised self-help based psychological intervention, with the aim of reducing participant's symptoms. The system will utilise intelligence at two levels:
– intelligently increasing the frequency of assessment notifications if low mood/paranoia is detected;
– an intelligent machine learning algorithm which provides interventions in real-time and also provides recommendations on the most popular selected interventions.
The aim of the current project is to develop a mobile phone intervention for people with psychosis, and to conduct a feasibility study of the TechCare App.
The study consists of both qualitative and quantitative components. The study will be run across three strands:
– qualitative work;
– test run and intervention refinement;
– feasibility trial.
Preliminary analysis of qualitative data from Strand 2 (test run and intervention refinement) in-depth interviews with service users (n = 2) and focus group with health professionals (n = 1), highlighted main themes around security of the device, multimedia and the acceptability of psychological interventions being delivered via the TechCare App.
Research in this area can be potentially helpful in addressing the demand on mental health services globally, particularly improving access to psychological interventions.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Biological research has produced major advances in our understanding of our bodies and, where systems go wrong, is producing remedies to address these, but it has yet to do the same for the mind. This is because no causative biological evidence has been found for the major mental disorders in contrast to the wealth of psychosocial findings. This disparity in regard and resource needs to be addressed.
The Green et al., Paranoid Thoughts Scale (GPTS) – comprising two 16-item scales assessing ideas of reference (Part A) and ideas of persecution (Part B) – was developed over a decade ago. Our aim was to conduct the first large-scale psychometric evaluation.
In total, 10 551 individuals provided GPTS data. Four hundred and twenty-two patients with psychosis and 805 non-clinical individuals completed GPTS Parts A and B. An additional 1743 patients with psychosis and 7581 non-clinical individuals completed GPTS Part B. Factor analysis, item response theory, and receiver operating characteristic analyses were conducted.
The original two-factor structure of the GPTS had an inadequate model fit: Part A did not form a unidimensional scale and multiple items were locally dependant. A Revised-GPTS (R-GPTS) was formed, comprising eight-item ideas of reference and 10-item ideas of persecution subscales, which had an excellent model fit. All items in the new Reference (a = 2.09–3.67) and Persecution (a = 2.37–4.38) scales were strongly discriminative of shifts in paranoia and had high reliability across the spectrum of severity (a > 0.90). The R-GPTS score ranges are: average (Reference: 0–9; Persecution: 0–4); elevated (Reference: 10–15; Persecution: 5–10); moderately severe (Reference: 16–20; Persecution:11–17); severe (Reference: 21–24; Persecution: 18–27); and very severe (Reference: 25+; Persecution: 28+). Recommended cut-offs on the persecution scale are 11 to discriminate clinical levels of persecutory ideation and 18 for a likely persecutory delusion.
The psychometric evaluation indicated a need to improve the GPTS. The R-GPTS is a more precise measure, has excellent psychometric properties, and is recommended for future studies of paranoia.
Refractory depression is a major contributor to the economic burden of depression. Radically open dialectical behaviour therapy (RO DBT) is an unevaluated new treatment targeting overcontrolled personality, common in refractory depression, but it is not yet known whether the additional expense of RO DBT is good value for money.
To estimate the cost-effectiveness of RO DBT plus treatment as usual (TAU) compared with TAU alone in people with refractory depression (trial registration: ISRCTN85784627).
We undertook a cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a randomised trial evaluating RO DBT plus TAU versus TAU alone for refractory depression in three UK secondary care centres. Our economic evaluation, 12 months after randomisation, adopted the perspective of the UK National Health Service (NHS) and personal social services. It evaluated cost-effectiveness by comparing the net cost of RO DBT with the net gain in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), estimated using the EQ-5D-3L measure of health-related quality of life.
The additional cost of RO DBT plus TAU compared with TAU alone was £7048 and was associated with a difference of 0.032 QALYs, yielding an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of £220 250 per QALY. This ICER was well above the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) upper threshold of £30 000 per QALY. A cost-effectiveness acceptability curve indicated that RO DBT had a zero probability of being cost-effective compared with TAU at the NICE £30 000 threshold.
In its current resource-intensive form, RO DBT is not a cost-effective use of resources in the UK NHS.
Declaration of interest
R.H. is co-owner and director of Radically Open Ltd, the RO DBT training and dissemination company. D.K. reports grants outside the submitted work from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). T.L. receives royalties from New Harbinger Publishing for sales of RO DBT treatment manuals, speaking fees from Radically Open Ltd, and a grant outside the submitted work from the Medical Research Council. He was co-director of Radically Open Ltd between November 2014 and May 2015 and is married to Erica Smith-Lynch, the principal shareholder and one of two directors of Radically Open Ltd. H.O'M. reports personal fees outside the submitted work from the Charlie Waller Institute and Improving Access to Psychological Therapy. S.R. provides RO DBT supervision through her company S C Rushbrook Ltd. I.R. reports grants outside the submitted work from NIHR and Health & Care Research Wales. M. Stanton reports personal fees outside the submitted work from British Isles DBT Training, Stanton Psychological Services Ltd and Taylor & Francis. M. Swales reports personal fees outside the submitted work from British Isles DBT Training, Guilford Press, Oxford University Press and Taylor & Francis. B.W. was co-director of Radically Open Ltd between November 2014 and February 2015.
Individuals with depression often do not respond to medication or psychotherapy. Radically open dialectical behaviour therapy (RO DBT) is a new treatment targeting overcontrolled personality, common in refractory depression.
To compare RO DBT plus treatment as usual (TAU) for refractory depression with TAU alone (trial registration: ISRCTN 85784627).
RO DBT comprised 29 therapy sessions and 27 skills classes over 6 months. Our completed randomised trial evaluated RO DBT for refractory depression over 18 months in three British secondary care centres. Of 250 adult participants, we randomised 162 (65%) to RO DBT. The primary outcome was the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), assessed masked and analysed by treatment allocated.
After 7 months, immediately following therapy, RO DBT had significantly reduced depressive symptoms by 5.40 points on the HRSD relative to TAU (95% CI 0.94–9.85). After 12 months (primary end-point), the difference of 2.15 points on the HRSD in favour of RO DBT was not significant (95% CI –2.28 to 6.59); nor was that of 1.69 points on the HRSD at 18 months (95% CI –2.84 to 6.22). Throughout RO DBT participants reported significantly better psychological flexibility and emotional coping than controls. However, they reported eight possible serious adverse reactions compared with none in the control group.
The RO DBT group reported significantly lower HRSD scores than the control group after 7 months, but not thereafter. The imbalance in serious adverse reactions was probably because of the controls' limited opportunities to report these.
Implementation of evidence-based psychosocial interventions in accordance with National Institute of Health and Care Excellence guidelines and quality standards has been incomplete. This project involved allocation of adults under mental health services to six guideline categories, completion of a clinician- and patient-rated outcome measure, and individual assessment against clinical standards.
In the first 3 months of the project, 5048 patients were allocated to a pathway and 3734 (73%) were assessed against at least one of the relevant standards. All were assessed using the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (91–93% of scales completed) and 1866 (36%) completed the patient-rated outcome measure, DIALOG.
Clinicians will allocate patients to pathways, complete outcome measures and assess against standards, providing data to guide practice, service design and costing of mental health systems with supporting technology to assist data entry and presentation. This has the potential to provide much improved and readily accessible information about individual outcomes and standards for people with mental health problems and those working with them. It could also provide a method for payment for services which directly support good clinical practice.
The cognitive process of worry, which keeps negative thoughts in mind and elaborates the content, contributes to the occurrence of many mental health disorders. Our principal aim was to develop a straightforward measure of general problematic worry suitable for research and clinical treatment. Our secondary aim was to develop a measure of problematic worry specifically concerning paranoid fears.
An item pool concerning worry in the past month was evaluated in 250 non-clinical individuals and 50 patients with psychosis in a worry treatment trial. Exploratory factor analysis and item response theory (IRT) informed the selection of scale items. IRT analyses were repeated with the scales administered to 273 non-clinical individuals, 79 patients with psychosis and 93 patients with social anxiety disorder. Other clinical measures were administered to assess concurrent validity. Test-retest reliability was assessed with 75 participants. Sensitivity to change was assessed with 43 patients with psychosis.
A 10-item general worry scale (Dunn Worry Questionnaire; DWQ) and a five-item paranoia worry scale (Paranoia Worries Questionnaire; PWQ) were developed. All items were highly discriminative (DWQ a = 1.98–5.03; PWQ a = 4.10–10.7), indicating small increases in latent worry lead to a high probability of item endorsement. The DWQ was highly informative across a wide range of the worry distribution, whilst the PWQ had greatest precision at clinical levels of paranoia worry. The scales demonstrated excellent internal reliability, test-retest reliability, concurrent validity and sensitivity to change.
The new measures of general problematic worry and worry about paranoid fears have excellent psychometric properties.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) as a treatment for schizophrenia and psychotic-related disorders has been shown to have significantly greater drop-out rates in clients of black and minority ethnic (BME) groups. This has resulted in poor outcomes in treatments. Our recent qualitative study thus aimed to develop culturally sensitive CBT for BME clients. The study consisted of individual in-depth 1:1 interviews with patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizo-affective, delusional disorders or psychosis (n = 15) and focus groups with lay members (n = 52), CBT therapists (n = 22) and mental health practitioners (n = 25) on a data set of 114 participants. Several themes emerged relating to therapist awareness on culturally derived behaviours, beliefs and attitudes that can influence client response and participation in therapy. The current paper aims to explore one of these themes in greater detail, i.e. client-initiated therapist self-disclosure (TSD). Using thematic analysis, the paper highlights key elements of TSD and how this could impact on therapist’s reactions towards TSD, the therapeutic alliance and ultimately, the outcomes of therapy. The findings appear to show that TSD has significant relevance in psychological practice today. Some BME client groups appear to test therapists through initiating TSD. It is not the content of TSD they are testing per se, but how the therapist responds. Consequently, this requires therapists’ cognisance and sensitive responses in a manner that will nurture trust and promote rapport. Further investigation in this area is suggested with a recommendation for guidelines to be created for clinicians and training.
Key learning aims
(1) To develop a dialogue and practice with confidence when addressing issues of self-disclosure with diverse populations.
(2) To appreciate the impact therapist self-disclosure has in early stages of engagement, in particular when working with patients from BME communities.
(3) To understand the impact and role of self-disclosure as initiated by patients.
(4) To increase therapist awareness on cultural differences in self-disclosure and develop ways to address this in therapy.
(5) To challenge therapists to adapt psychological therapies to diverse cultures and be cognisant that ‘one size does not fit all’.
The Care Programme Approach (CPA) has been instrumental in embedding principles of holistic collaborative assessment and management into mental health care. Initially, its implementation was assisted by targeting those at greatest need. However dichotomising patients into more and less severe is now considered unhelpful and has been demonstrated to be unreliable. Division of patients into severe and not severe categories is no more logical than such a division of patients with physical health problems. CPA principles are now applied to all patients in mental health services and practice needs to move to individualised care, focusing on meeting quality standards and achieving positive outcomes. A system based on evidence-based clinical pathways and reliable measures of severity and need should replace the current approach.
Characterising the three-dimensional (3D) distribution of hydraulic conductivity and its variability in the shallow subsurface is fundamental to understanding groundwater behaviour and to developing conceptual and numerical groundwater models to manage the subsurface. However, directly measuring in situ hydraulic conductivity can be difficult and expensive and is rarely carried out with sufficient density in urban environments. In this study we model hydraulic conductivity for 603 sites in the unconsolidated Quaternary deposits underlying Glasgow using particle size distribution and density description widely available from geotechnical investigations. Six different models were applied and the MacDonald formula was found to be most applicable in this heterogeneous environment, comparing well with the few available in situ hydraulic conductivity data. The range of the calculated hydraulic conductivity values between the 5th and 95th percentile was 1.56×10–2–4.38mday–1 with a median of 2.26×10–1 mday–1. These modelled hydraulic conductivity data were used to develop a suite of stochastic 3D simulations conditioned to existing 3D representations of lithology. Ten per cent of the input data were excluded from the modelling process for use in a split-sample validation test, which demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach compared with non-spatial or lithologically unconstrained models. Our spatial model reduces the mean squared error between the estimated and observed values at the excluded data locations over those predicted using a simple homogeneous model by 73 %. The resulting 3D hydraulic conductivity model is of a much higher resolution than would have been possible from using only direct measurements, and will improve understanding of groundwater flow in Glasgow and reduce the spatial uncertainty of hydraulic parameters in groundwater process models. The methodology employed could be replicated in other regions where significant volumes of suitable geotechnical and site investigation data are available to predict ground conditions in areas with complex superficial deposits.