Authors: John Farhall, Eliot Goldstone, Carol Harvey, Brendan O’Hanlon and Laura Hayes, VIC
Event: 2010 TheMHS Conference
Subject: CARERS, FAMILIES,RESEARCH, CONTINUING CARE,
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The BFST project, involving a collaboration between a specialist family agency (The Bouverie Centre) and a public mental health organisation (NorthWestern Mental Health), intended to not only train mental health staff in Continuing Care teams to provide Behavioural Family Therapy (BFT) to selected families affected by psychosis, but to also stimulate greater expertise and enthusiasm for family work in general. We investigated this wider impact of the project by assessing changes in the volume and pattern of family work over time (2005-2008). In a naturalistic design, two experimental services and three comparison services were compared using: routinely collected contact statistics; surveys of contacts by staff with family members in one-month sampling periods; and audits of family programs and services. Results showed no evidence that the intensive support for one form of family intervention, BFT, detracted from the overall level of family work or the number of other family programs that operated at those centres. To the contrary, the results suggested that there was a modest increase over the study period in the volume and intensity of family work at experimental sites. We observed that for many indicators, the experimental sites on average were starting from a lower base than the comparison sites, and that, typically, over the study period, they tended to catch up with the comparison sites, which is likely to have been a direct result of the implementation program.