Statement of the problem
Individuals with severe mental illness need to be able to access proper care and attention so as to overcome the numerous challenges that such conditions present them with (Gomory, 2013). The need to offer continuous care and rehabilitation for such patients has resulted in the shift from institutional-based care to a more recent and generally accepted community-based care. The setup of the ACT allows for the patients to recover within their community setting with the support of a mobile and well-organized team of mental health workers (Gomory, 2013). The team of health professionals must: be available throughout the day, and must not have more than 12 mental patients to take care of. Also, the team based in a particular community must have autonomy, must be multidisciplinary, should not have more than 20% of their staff as part-time, and should have a part-time psychiatrist on standby (Udechuku et al., 2005).
The ACT model has, in the period of implementation, proven very successful. The available literature and previous studies show that the approach has a high success rate in the treatment of mental patients who have a history of several hospitalizations due to the illness and its related effects. The model relies on the premise that mental patients, like other human beings, need housing, food, clothing, sense of belonging and friendship (Stuen, Rugkåsa, Landheim & Wynn, 2015). Through the support structure, the patients are able to address several aspects of their lives, whether it is their livelihood, therapy, medication or the social support.
The available literature provides quantitative and qualitative data that acts as evidence regarding ACT care and the traditional intensive case management programs. There is however very little literature that has focused on the actual practices involved in the recovery programs (Stuen, Rugkåsa, Landheim & Wynn, 2015). There is not much literature offering insight into the services provided by both the community and the traditional professionals who form part of the program. The first problem the study intends to address is the absence of sufficient knowledge regarding how the recovery services as a whole (nature of activities involved) are carried out so as to ensure that those in the program do not succumb to recidivism
Given the size of the population that are affected by mental health issues and the limited nature of resources allocated to mental health services, there is a need for research regarding the practices and activities around the ACT approach so as to establish its efficiency (Salyers & Tsemberis, 2007).
Noteworthy is the fact that the results of these findings will inform the health practitioners and the stakeholders of the activities that are useful in the recovery process and the facilitators of the activities (Salyers & Tsemberis, 2007). The knowledge provided by the study will be necessary for establishing a proper way to reducing costs associated with the ACT program. Besides, the study will highlight what services to be emphasized by the program. The study has the ability to provide a proper qualitative analysis of the mechanisms that are responsible for the success of such programs and provide data that informs future clinical practice (Udechuku et al., 2005).
In Shetty’s (2010) article she reveals nurses mostly predominate the composition of the ACT team in the UK. This she claims is not the ideal situation because such groups need social workers, occupational therapists, and psychologists. Also, the article emphasizes the need for the inputs of such professional in the recovery and rehabilitation process. This creates a fundamental question about the program which is, what happens once a patient is engaged in the process? The other research question is, to what extent are the activities relevant to the recovery and rehabilitation of the patient? Lastly, the research should establish the exact professional services that are pertinent to the program
Gomory, T. (2013). The Limits of Evidence-Based Medicine and Its Application to Mental Health Evidence-Based Practice (Part Two): Assertive Community Treatment Assertively Reviewed. Ethical Human Psychology And Psychiatry, 15(2), 73-86. http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/1559-43220.127.116.11
Salyers, M., & Tsemberis, S. (2007). ACT and Recovery: Integrating Evidence-Based Practice and Recovery Orientation on Assertive Community Treatment Teams. Community Ment Health J, 43(6), 619-641. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10597-007-9088-5
Shetty, A. (2009). Assertive community treatment teams. The British Journal Of Psychiatry, 196(1), 77-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjp.196.1.77b
Stuen, H., RugkÃ¥sa, J., Landheim, A., & Wynn, R. (2015). Increased influence and collaboration: a qualitative study of patientsâ€™ experiences of community treatment orders within an assertive community treatment setting. BMC Health Services Research, 15(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-015-1083-x
Udechuku, A., Olver, J., Hallam, K., Blyth, F., Leslie, M., & Nasso, M. et al. (2005). Assertive community treatment of the mentally ill: service model and effectiveness. Australasian Psychiatry, 13(2), 129-134. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/j.1440-1665.2005.02175.x