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City staff and students guest edit special mental health journal issue

Special issue focuses on care planning and co-ordination

by George Wigmore (Senior Communications Officer)

Mental health researchers and students from City, University of London have contributed to a new special issue of the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing focusing on care planning and co-ordination.

Guest edited by Professor Alan Simpson, Professor of Collaborative Mental Health Nursing in the School of Health Sciences at City, along with Dr Michael Coffey (Swansea University) and Dr Ben Hannigan (Cardiff University), the journal features an editorial by service user researcher and recent City PhD graduate Alison Faulkner, and two papers jointly written with Professor Simpson by City MSc graduates Corinne Drummond and Kristina Mcleod.

In the lead editorial by Professor Simpson and colleagues, the authors highlight that “care planning and coordination are central to the delivery of comprehensive mental health care especially where individuals have complex health and social care needs.”

Following this Dr Faulkner emphasised the importance of relationships when it comes to mental health care planning and care coordination in an editorial.

“Research and evidence from service users have consistently reported that service users are not involved in care planning, despite mental health policy that advocates a collaborative process and evidence that involvement facilitates recovery’, and what constitutes a meaningful relationship and how is it formed,” she said. “Guidelines, guidance and toolkits for involvement and for care planning are legion, but all the paperwork in the world should not distract us from the fact that mental health care really is about the quality of relationships.”

Following the editorials, in an article entitled ‘‘Who's actually gonna read this?’ An evaluation of staff experiences of the value of information contained in written care plans in supporting care in three different dementia care settings’ by Corinne Drummond and Professor Simpson, the authors investigated the experiences and views of staff in relation to care planning in dementia services in one NHS provider Trust in England.

They found that participants felt that written care plans did not help staff with good practice in planning care or to support dementia care generally. The study also revealed that staff were also frustrated by repetitive documentation, inflexible electronic records and conflicting demands on their time. In terms of implications for practice, the paper suggests that frontline staff should be involved in designing new information systems including care plans.

Another article, ‘Exploring the value of mental health nurses working in primary care in England: A qualitative study’ by Kristina Mcleod and Professor Simpson, evaluated a mental health nurse-led Primary Care Liaison Service (PCLS), developed in 2011 in inner London.

The study suggests that the PCLN service can improve the quality of care and is generally highly valued by its stakeholders. The study identifies particularly valued elements of the service, including having a duty worker, as well as aspects which could be improved, such as patient criteria.

Speaking about the special issue, Professor Simpson said:

“The idea behind this edition was to explore in detail care planning and co-ordination, a research area which is incredibly important and which can make a significant difference to not only the lives of service users but also staff themselves. Care planning and coordination are central to the delivery of comprehensive mental health care, and our editorials and papers show the importance of relationships; how care plans can be improved and that staff should be involved in their development; and also that Primary Care Liaison Services can improve the quality of care.”

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.