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      Evaluation of a peer-delivered, transitional and post-discharge support program following psychiatric hospitalisation

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          The time following discharge from psychiatric hospitalisation is a high risk period. Rates of hospital readmission are high and there is increased risk for homelessness and suicide. Transitional and post-discharge support programs have demonstrated positive results in terms of enhanced wellbeing, improved connection with community-based services and, in some cases, reductions in hospital re-admission. This paper reports on the outcomes of a peer-delivered post-discharge support program.


          The program involved peer workers (individuals with their own lived experience of mental illness and recovery) providing individualised practical and emotional support to individuals for six to eight weeks following discharge from an inpatient psychiatric unit. Outcomes measures included self-reported mental health recovery, personal wellness and self-reported re-admission rates. Process and satisfaction measures were also collected and semi-structured follow-up interviews were completed with consenting participants.


          The program provided support for a total of 64 individuals, 38 of whom consented to participate in the evaluation. Participants reported improvements in terms of functional and clinical recovery and in the areas of intellectual, social and psychological wellness. Participants self-report of hospital readmissions suggested that there was a reduction in hospital bed days following engagement with the program. Themes from the follow up interviews included: Easing the transition to the “real world”; Practical and individualised support; Someone to talk to; Positive qualities of the worker , W orkers’ lived experience was a positive thing, and It wasn’t long enough.


          Overall, evaluation data suggest that the program supported positive outcomes for participants in terms of recovery, wellbeing and hospital avoidance. Participant feedback suggested that the use of support workers with their own lived experience of mental illness was a particularly powerful aspect of the program.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Constructing Grounded Theory

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            Discharge planning in mental health care: a systematic review of the recent literature.

            To determine and estimate the efficacy of discharge planning interventions in mental health care from in-patient to out-patient treatment on improving patient outcome, ensuring community tenure, and saving costs. A systematic review and meta-analysis identified studies through an electronic search on the basis of defined inclusion and exclusion criteria and extracted data. Of eleven studies included, six were randomised controlled trials, three were controlled clinical trials, and two were cohort studies. The discharge planning strategies used varied widely, most were limited to preparation of discharge during in-patient treatment. Pooled risk ratios were 0.66 (95% CI = 0.51 to 0.84; P < 0.001) for hospital readmission rate, and 1.25 (1.07 to 1.47; P < 0.001) for adherence to out-patient treatment. Effect sizes (Hedge's g) were -0.25 (-0.45 to -0.05; P = 0.02) for mental health outcome, and 0.11(-0.05 to 0.28; NS) for quality of life. Discharge planning interventions are effective in reducing rehospitalisation and in improving adherence to aftercare among people with mental disorders.
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              The effects of a transitional discharge model for psychiatric patients.

              This pilot randomized control trial was motivated by the discovery that many individuals with mental health problems are re-hospitalized within a year, with many being unable to fully adjust to community living. A solution was proposed in the form of an intervention called transitional discharge. The transitional discharge model included: (1) peer support, which is assistance from former patients who provide friendship, understanding and encouragement; and (2) overlap of inpatient and community staff in which the inpatient staff continue to work with the discharged patient until a working relationship is established with a community care provider. The overall aim of this study was to test the discharge model designed to assist patients discharged from acute admission wards to adjust to community living. This aim was tested through a number of related hypotheses, which suggest that, 5 months following discharge from an acute admission ward of a psychiatric hospital, individuals participating in a transitional discharge model: (1) report fewer symptoms; (2) report better levels of functioning; (3) have better quality of life; (4) are less likely to have been re-admitted to hospital. The study used a randomized experimental design with two conditions: experimental and usual treatment. In general, both the control and the experimental group demonstrated significant improvements in symptom severity and functional ability after 5 months. Usual treatment subjects in the control group were more than twice as likely to be re-admitted to hospital. This study needs to be replicated in Scotland with a larger sample and with a modified variation of the intervention called the Transitional Care Intervention.

                Author and article information

                +61 2 9351 9022 , justin.scanlan@sydney.edu.au
                BMC Psychiatry
                BMC Psychiatry
                BMC Psychiatry
                BioMed Central (London )
                24 August 2017
                24 August 2017
                : 17
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 834X, GRID grid.1013.3, , The University of Sydney, Faculty of Health Sciences, ; PO Box 170, Lidcombe, NSW 1825 Australia
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2105 7653, GRID grid.410692.8, , Sydney Local Health District, Mental Health Services, ; Sydney, Australia
                © The Author(s). 2017

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001236, Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW;
                Research Article
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                © The Author(s) 2017


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