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In three localities in a mental health trust in England, an enhanced bed management team was established to improve patient flow and reduce out-of-area placements. Trusted assessments were provided to support risk management and conflict resolution. Two measures of flow were compared before and after the team was established.
The trusted assessment recommendation was for discharge in 70% of cases. The number of out-of-area placements was significantly reduced (P < 0.05), saving £616 876 over a 12-month period. Patient flow was significantly improved in one of the three localities as measured by patients/bed/6-month period (P < 0.05). In one of the other localities increased use of trusted assessment input and reduced numbers of patients being transferred in are recommended to improve flow.
Mental health trusts should consider the establishment of an enhanced bed management team, including trusted assessment, as a safe and cost-effective approach to improving patient flow and reducing the need for out-of-area placement.
The feasibility and effectiveness of trainee psychiatrists providing CBT in primary care was assessed by a triangulated procedure of service overview, trainee feedback and assessment of clinical measures. Hitherto trainees sought ‘suitable’ cases by individual request. In the primary-care setting: 82% of 11 trainees (50% previously) completed a ‘short case’ treatment within a 6-month attachment; 86% of trainees found the level of supervision ‘about right’; depression and anxiety scores for patients (n = 16) achieved statistically significant gains and showed moderate to large effect sizes. Although there was no comparator group, findings were just above the IAPT aim of a 50% recovery. Conclusions are that completion of their ‘short case’ experience within a 6-month attachment is feasible in a primary-care setting. Evidence that patients and the service also benefited demonstrates this to be good and ethical ‘business’ for the service provider. Integrating these skills into routine medical psychiatric practice may remain a later supervision need. Other training experiences including psychological treatments could initially be best met in less testing clinical encounters than those experienced in secondary care. Locally agreed formal arrangements would facilitate this and there is potential for the development of greater cross-service understanding in the longer term.
Competencies for psychiatric training have been developed that reflect what psychiatrists have to be able to do in order to function in their role. Although the need for a formally delivered psychotherapy experience is assumed and associated competencies are represented in the curriculum, it is not clear which competencies thereby achieved can be translated into generic practice. This paper reports the outcomes of a workshop held at an academic regional meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Potential competencies to be achieved following training and experience in CBT were presented. Small group review of the frameworks and subsequent feedback demonstrated broad support for requirements of CBT knowledge and attitudinal competencies that could inform day-to-day practice, within a generic psychotherapeutic skills framework. New competencies that were related to CBT and considered meaningful in daily psychiatric practice emerged. Further development of these ideas from the workshop in this paper leads to a set of coherent competencies that would be helpful in non-CBT specialist practice and are congruent with the context of generic psychiatric practice. These enable models of training other than the delivery of a single ‘brief’ psychotherapy case to be considered.
Background: Research has clearly established the efficacy of pharmacotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for depression. There is less literature addressing cessation of treatment, such as relapse during withdrawal from antidepressant medication. Aims: The current study examines the role of psychological constructs that may influence relapse or fear of relapse and lead to resumption of medication. This hypothesizes that during withdrawal individuals may misinterpret normal variations in mood and dysphoric or other symptoms as reduced levels of medication in their bodies in keeping with a simplistic rationale for antidepressants. Method: The study uses an intensive single case AB style design in three cases during the withdrawal process. All participants had been treated with CBT plus antidepressants and had previously attempted to withdraw from antidepressants. The first part of the study naturalistically tracks belief changes as medication decreases; the second examines changes in these if/when a CBT intervention is introduced due to relapse or potential near-relapse. Daily self-monitoring diaries were used to measure target variables, together with standardized questionnaires up to 6 months follow-up. Results: Changes in symptoms, appraisal of symptoms, and beliefs about medication changed throughout the study. All participants remained medication free at 6 months follow-up. Two cases received CBT intervention due to possible relapse; the third underwent an unproblematic withdrawal. Conclusions: Patterns of change are discussed in terms of current approaches to medication cessation and the role of CBT during withdrawal.
The relationship between schemas, depression and psychotic themes was explored in a sample of 26 patients with schizophrenia. Results show an association of underlying depressive schema vulnerabilities with specific psychotic themes. This preliminary investigation provides support for the meaningfulness of psychotic symptoms. This paper implies that schema focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) could lead to improvements in linked psychotic symptoms.
This paper describes the characteristics and outcome of the first 20 patients seen by a newly appointed specialist registrar in cognitive therapy. The outcome of the first (cases 1–10) and second (cases 11–20) cohorts were evaluated to assess if training had any impact on clinical effectiveness.
Comorbidity was common, but more patients improved following the intervention (effect size=0.64–1.34). The 25% therapy drop-out rate was comparable with previously reported rates. Four out of five patients who dropped out had Cluster B personality disorders. The two cohorts showed similar baseline characteristics, but the second cohort showed improved outcome (effect size of training=0.89–1.04) and had a significantly shorter course of therapy (P=0.02).
Specialist registrar training in cognitive therapy provides experience in treating a wide variety of mental disorders. The routine collection and analysis of clinical and psychometric data helps identify training effectiveness and training needs. The data demonstrate that training was associated with improved patient outcomes.
Observation levels are widely used in the management of acutely disturbed psychiatric patients (Shugar & Rehaluk, 1990). Although clinicians are involved in decisions about observation levels, there is rarely any specific training and very little formal structure to the decision making process. We report a survey of the views and knowledge of clinical staff regarding observation levels. Questionnaires were sent to all the nurses of the six acute psychiatric wards in the Nottingham Mental Health Unit, and all the doctors involved in the care of patients on these wards.
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