The autonomy of professionals and the involvement of patients and families : Services research and outcomes

Truman, Carole (2005) The autonomy of professionals and the involvement of patients and families : Services research and outcomes. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 18 (5). pp. 572-576. ISSN 1473-6578

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Purpose of review: The involvement of patients/service users and their families/caregivers in the field of mental health has been of interest for several years. It is timely to review what has been learned about involvement; to understand where and how involvement has been implemented; and to explore factors which influence the effectiveness of implementation. Recent literature on user involvement and its implications for professional practice forms the focus of this review. Material is drawn largely from Europe, North America and Australasia, since this reflects where there is most interest in this topic. Papers outside of mental health are included where they further illuminate issues under discussion. Recent findings: The involvement of users/patients and their caregivers is an important aspect of the care and treatment of mental illness extending across health and social care. Involvement has implications for professional practice including the negotiation of treatment, the coordination of care and communication strategies. Tensions may emerge during the process of effectively implementing patient/family involvement, but the autonomy of professionals is not usually a factor. Summary: There is no singular definition of involvement. There has been growth in the levels of user/caregiver involvement, particularly in community-based provision and within transition processes from hospital to community-based treatment. There is no suggestion that involvement is widespread. Implementation of involvement should be underpinned by effective communication on the part of professionals and recognition of service users and caregivers as partners in processes of treatment and recovery. Implementation is most effective when supported by appropriate organizational policies and integrated into the education of health professionals.

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Journal Article
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Current Opinion in Psychiatry
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22 Jul 2008 11:54
Last Modified:
11 Sep 2023 12:10