Longitudinal comparative evaluation of the equivalence of an integrated peer-support and clinical staffing model for residential mental health rehabilitation: a mixed methods protocol incorporating multiple stakeholder perspectives.BMC Psychiatry. 2016 06 02; 16:179.BP
A novel staffing model integrating peer support workers and clinical staff within a unified team is being trialled at community based residential rehabilitation units in Australia. A mixed-methods protocol for the longitudinal evaluation of the outcomes, expectations and experiences of care by consumers and staff under this staffing model in two units will be compared to one unit operating a traditional clinical staffing. The study is unique with regards to the context, the longitudinal approach and consideration of multiple stakeholder perspectives.
The longitudinal mixed methods design integrates a quantitative evaluation of the outcomes of care for consumers at three residential rehabilitation units with an applied qualitative research methodology. The quantitative component utilizes a prospective cohort design to explore whether equivalent outcomes are achieved through engagement at residential rehabilitation units operating integrated and clinical staffing models. Comparative data will be available from the time of admission, discharge and 12-month period post-discharge from the units. Additionally, retrospective data for the 12-month period prior to admission will be utilized to consider changes in functioning pre and post engagement with residential rehabilitation care. The primary outcome will be change in psychosocial functioning, assessed using the total score on the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (HoNOS). Planned secondary outcomes will include changes in symptomatology, disability, recovery orientation, carer quality of life, emergency department presentations, psychiatric inpatient bed days, and psychological distress and wellbeing. Planned analyses will include: cohort description; hierarchical linear regression modelling of the predictors of change in HoNOS following CCU care; and descriptive comparisons of the costs associated with the two staffing models. The qualitative component utilizes a pragmatic approach to grounded theory, with collection of data from consumers and staff at multiple time points exploring their expectations, experiences and reflections on the care provided by these services.
It is expected that the new knowledge gained through this study will guide the adaptation of these and similar services. For example, if differential outcomes are achieved for consumers under the integrated and clinical staffing models this may inform staffing guidelines.