S88: “ECT – Let’s talk about it!!” – A consumer-led project to improve support, decision making and consumers’ experiences of ECT.

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By September 27, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Karen Wells, Justin Scanlan

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Lived Experience, Recovery,Research & Evaluation Informing Practice,Service Systems, Delivery, Implementation

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) is arguably the most controversial treatment in modern psychiatry. Some consider it a life-saving intervention; others consider it a “crime against humanity.” Portrayals in movies like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” also fuel negative attitudes. This can make the decision making process extremely difficult.

“ECT – Let’s talk about it!!” was a consumer-led project designed to gather consumers’ experiences of the decision making process and undertaking ECT. The aim was to enhance information and support available to individuals considering ECT and improve the overall experience of ECT. A total of 17 consumers were interviewed.

Key findings included: (1) more information should be provided more regularly and this should be in a range of formats; (2) there should be opportunities to speak with individuals who have had ECT in the past; (3) there should be greater involvement of families throughout the process, potentially even having a family member present when ECT is being given; and (4) clearer information about side effects, especially memory-related side effects, and treatment options should be available.

This project, informed by the voices of individuals who have experienced ECT, has provided useful information to improve the decision-making process and overall experience of ECT.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: People attending this presentation will learn about how individuals considering ECT can be more effectively supported in their decision making and how the overall experience of ECT can be improved.

Learning Objective 2: The need for consumer-led research in mental health is becoming more and more apparent. This project exemplifies how consumer-led, collaborative projects can make positive improvements to mental health service provision, even for something as controversial as ECT.

Happell, B., & Roper, C. (2007). Consumer participation in mental health research: articulating a model to guide practice. Australasian Psychiatry, 15(3), 237-241.
Rose, D., Fleischmann, P., Wykes, T., Leese, M., & Bindman, J. (2003). Patients' perspectives on electroconvulsive therapy: systematic review. BMJ, 326(7403), 1363.

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