Earlier this year, a chance on-line conversation led to Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust becoming involved in the EQUIP study: Enhancing the quality of user involved care planning in mental health services. This presents an opportunity for people who use the service and their carers, and for care coordinators to be involved in a national research study – you can read more about our involvement with the EQUIP study here. Ultimately this is about increasing people’s involvement in planning their care, an idea that has been around for a lot of years but that remains a challenge to mental health services in delivering consistently. The good people at EQUIP have published a paper that brings together the current evidence base and identifies barriers and enablers to bringing this level of involvement to practice. It reads well and is available on open access here.
The theme of involvement continues as being ‘involved’ in a national research project brings its own challenges. Theoretically, it is the right thing to do: contributing to the body of evidence; potentially improving people’s experience of mental health services; improving outcomes through collaborative working; challenging stigma and power; developing care coordinator skills…… the benefits go on. Then there is the reality of practice – research activity not always making it to the top of the list of ‘things to do’; perhaps being seen as extra to practice and not part of practice; competing with service user visits/contact. That said, care coordinators have responded positively to the clinical studies officers requests; despite being super busy with clinical work, they screened their caseload in super quick time (hats off and a big thank you to them!). This bodes well for the next hurdle – releasing a community team for 2 days of training. Looking forward to experiencing the training and seeing how this can influence practice – and ultimately how people can be actively involved in planning their care. This is where the big win lies in being involved in the EQUIP study.
Oh – and do have chance conversations with people, you never know where it will lead……..
Are you involved in planning your care? Does it make a difference?
Care coordinators – what are the main issues with involving people in planning their care?