The Exploratory Evaluation of an Inpatient Model of Care for Adolescents Experiencing Mental Health Problems: A Prospective Longitudinal Study
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2022-05-08.
© 2019 Claire Hayes
Adolescent mental health research is a developing area. Existing treatment guidelines for adolescent mental health care in most western countries emphasise the role of inpatient care when needed. Inpatient units are the most widely used acute element of adolescent mental health services internationally. Yet little is known about inpatient units, their therapeutic operations, models of care and perceived helpfulness. Less is known about general adolescent inpatient units from the perspectives of adolescents, caregivers and clinicians. In order to address this gap in understanding an adolescent inpatient model of care in operation, a prospective mixed-methods approach was adopted. Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents (HoNOSCA) were collected, measuring global functioning at T1 (admission) and T2 (discharge). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 adolescents and 12 caregivers at T1, T2 and T3 (six months post discharge). Qualitative data were first analysed thematically followed by a trajectory analysis. One-off semi-structured interviews were conducted with clinicians (n=10) and analysed using thematic analysis. Data collection began in May 2017 and ceased in October 2018. The majority of adolescents (n=72) were 16 years of age (26%), female (82%) and with a primary diagnosis of a mood disorder (57%). HoNOSCA data were completed by clinicians (n=57) and adolescents (n=56). Most adolescents improved at the time of discharge. Self-injury and emotional symptoms had greater reductions according to clinician and adolescent-self-ratings (p<0.01). Mean change (improvement) in HoNOSCA total score was 7.3 (SD 7.5) based on clinician ratings and 7.2 (SD 9.5) for adolescent-self-ratings. The mean length of stay was 28 days (SD 15.8). Interviews with clinicians resulted in the identification of three thematic features of the model of care relating to containment, engagement and therapy. These included; (a) an environment conducive to containment, (b) adolescent engagement through shared experiences and (c) dialectical behaviour therapy embedded culture. Adolescent and caregiver experiences described followed a recovery narrative consisting of three key phases which included, ‘waiting for help’ (T1), ‘help arrived’ (T2) and having ‘returned to regular life’ (T3). The overarching trajectory theme was a ‘winding road to recovery’. Findings revealed the admission was helpful for many young people who were on the winding road to recovery. These findings provide insights into the lived experiences from adolescents who have had an inpatient stay and their caregivers of an adolescent specific inpatient model of care. These findings should be used to improve clinical services and inform research aiming to articulate exemplary adolescent inpatient models of care. Furthermore, the findings provide guidance and practical information to commissioners, clinicians and policy makers implementing models of care. Finally, the detailed findings provide a foundation for planning inpatient care that is valued by clinicians, young people and their families.
KeywordsAdolescence, adolescents, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, inpatient, inpatient unit, inpatient services, inpatient admission, model of care
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