Monday, November 10, 2008

New research backs assertive outreach

Assertive outreach teams target people with severe mental illness who are difficult to engage, have high levels of need and regularly get admitted to hospital. While there is growing evidence that assertive outreach reduces demands on in-patient care in the U.S. to date this has been unsubstantiated in the U.K. The research data on symptom reduction is equivocal and there appears to be little to indicate a beneficial impact on social and vocational outcomes. So the evidence for assertive outreach teams exerting a positive influence on quality of life remains weak. A study of 250 service users in Birmingham has, however, painted a more positive picture of the effects of assertive outreach. Objective and subjective quality of life was assessed when the participants started working with five assertive outreach teams and again two years later. There were significant gains in service users' objective quality of life; notably an increase in income. Overall subjective quality of life - apart from family relations - also improved significantly over the course of the study.

Commander, Martin ... [et al] - North Birmingham assertive outreach evaluation of service users' quality of life Journal of Mental Health October 2008, 17(5), 462-470

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