Developing a practical solution to the challenge of providing streamlined care across multiple and diverse clinical services.
International clinical guidelines recommend Integrated Care (IC) as a preferred approach for treating co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Despite this, the implementation of IC across multiple and diverse mental health and drug and alcohol services is challenging and is rarely sustained over time. The study presented at this seminar aimed to make a substantial contribution to this gap in evidence translation. It describes the process of developing and testing a standardised but flexible method for guiding the uptake of inclusive IC in mental health and drug and alcohol services, irrespective of where a service is located.
A model of care and companion implementation framework were developed over a four-year period by combining the expertise of service providers and consumers with the best available research evidence. Setbacks and successes of this initiative are discussed, along with clinicians’ and consumers’ views of IC, the implementation process, and the solutions they devised. This study began with a group of clinicians working to improve a long-standing clinical issue: lack of uptake of drug and alcohol counselling following mental health treatment. It was expanded into a Ph.D. in consultation with NDARC and NSW Health and is now being scaled up for inclusion in a multinational trial. The resulting model and framework reflect the collaboration of many. They offer one solution to the challenge of translating IC into routine practice.
Dr Catherine Foley, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and Mid North Coast Local Health District
Catherine is a psychologist with a clinical background in substance use, mental illness, and complex trauma. She works as a clinician for NSW Health and has worked as a research fellow at NDARC since submitting her Ph.D. in late 2018. Catherine’s research is focused on improving collaboration across clinical services and on increasing the capacity and reach of clinician-researchers in regional and rural health services. She has a strong commitment to improving health experiences and outcomes for people who have co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions.