S25: Exploring the feasibility and evaluating the impact of a health clinic for consumers of a community mental health service.

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By September 21, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Anne Storey, Fiona Chisholm, Timothy Wand, Emma Hood

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Research & Evaluation Informing Practice,Change, Innovation, Reform,Clinical Issues

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: Background: The poor physical health of people with mental illness has gathered widespread attention in the mental health related literature. This issue is related to negative symptoms and the lifestyle of people with mental illness. However much of the burden is also clearly linked with the side effects of psychotropic medications and deficits in the knowledge, skill and confidence of mental health clinicians in relation to physical health matters. It is also argued that separate physical and mental health care is a worldwide practice resulting in unacceptable clinical and economic outcomes.

Study aims: With this in mind, a project exploring the feasibility and evaluating the impact of a health clinic for consumers of a community mental health service in Sydney was initiated. The specific aims of the health clinic are to:
- Explore the feasibility of a clinic that concentrates on the overall health needs of consumers
- Enhance detection, management and coordination of care
- Improve health literacy and promote greater self-management
- Build capacity of multidisciplinary mental health clinicians in detection and management of health problems
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the clinic by assessing the impact on individual health outcomes, staff confidence and consumer understanding of health concerns
- Establish a network of local community and hospital based services in response to consumers need.
- Develop resources / resource information to assist with consumers managing their health needs

Methods: Data sources for this study include descriptive information on individuals seen through the clinic over a twelve month period, health problems identified, interventions provided, and referrals made to other services. The study also involves individual interviews with consumers at the commencement and near the end of the twelve month evaluation period and interviews with staff regarding their experiences with the health clinic.

Conclusion: This program of clinical innovation aims to address physical and mental health problems together. Establishing a health clinic within a community health centre neither costly nor time consuming, but does have the potential to lead to positive consumer health outcomes, enhanced capacity and confidence in clinicians and savings on resources

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: People in the audience will gain an understanding of the importance of a holistic approach to health. Rather than separate physical and mental health care the need to embrace a comprehensive approach to health is discussed along with increasing clinicians confidence and approach to health care. Peer support workers are essential in a health clinic as they offer advice and encouragement from the lived experience.

Learning Objective 2: This topic is relevant to mental health services as traditionally physical and mental health services have been separate.This health clinic looks at increasing clinicians and peer support workers confidence along with offering a unique personalised experience for the consumer.

Happell,B.,Davies,C &Scott,D. (2012a).Health behaviour interventions to improve physical health in individuals diagnosed with a mental illness. A systematic review. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing,18,299-300
Procter,N.,Hamer,H.P.,McGarry,D.,Wilson,R.L. & Froggatt, T. (2014). mental health a person centred approach. Cambridge University Press.

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