The Home Treatment Team approach commenced on 20th January, 2014 as a pilot project under the guidance of Dr. Navroop Johnson’s Community Mental Health Team in South Kerry. The service has adopted a new approach to assessment of new referrals to the team.
The Home Team is presently based in Killorglin at Ard Alainn Day Centre with satellite sites in Kenmare and Caherciveen. South Kerry Mental Health services recently had the opportunity of establishing a new team to supplement the existing Community Mental Health Team. The team is called the Home Treatment Team and works on the principles of providing care to you in your preferred environment, i.e. home, as much as possible. The essence of Home Treatment will be the key worker system whereby you have one identified, designated mental health professional to guide you through your journey within the mental health services. We presently have six Mental Health Nurses, one Social Worker and one Occupational Therapist and access to a Psychologist. This is complimented with three Community Mental Health Nurses for the three divisions.
The document “A Vision For Change” (2006) has specifically recommended this service in Ireland to enhance the workings of the Community Mental Health Teams. In the last three decades, home-based treatment in mental health is well established in the USA, the UK, Australia and the efficacy of these services has been demonstrated. Crisis resolution teams have been established in the UK, with the belief that they could reduce the admission rates. A Cochrane review completed in 2006 and 2012 concluded that “Home care crisis treatment, couple with an ongoing ‘home care package’ is a viable and acceptable way of treating people with serious mental illnesses”.
Your Journey through the service
Once your referral is accepted into the Mental Health team in South Kerry services, you will be offered a routine or an urgent assessment. The initial assessment is carried out by Consultant Psychiatrist or a non-consultant doctor using an agreed local assessment process, where assessment of your mental state, risks and social needs are carried out.
You will be subsequently referred to Home Treatment Team (or other parts of Community Mental Health Team) for further collateral history and assessment tools (agreed locally) or you can be discharged back to the referring agent if deemed suitable for same. If you are referred to the Home Treatment Team for assessment, this will be then discussed at Multi-Disciplinary Team level for the purpose of Treatment Care Plan, once the assessments are complete. This Treatment Care Plan will be a comprehensive document which will aim to identify your unmet needs and appropriate recommendations for you over different categories such as mental health, personality, vocational, medical, social, financial etc. The Treatment Care Plan will also include a risk assessment. The formal Treatment Care Plan will be then fed back to you and your family/carers and a copy of same will be sent to your GP/referring agent.
It is hoped that you will go through the process of assessments and Treatment Care Plan within a 4-6 week period. Once you are with the Home Treatment Team, you will be discussed at weekly team meetings providing multi-disciplinary input, review and follow up as necessary.
Following completion of assessments and Treatment Care Plan by Home Treatment Team, you can progress to following pathways, after discussion within the Community Mental Health Team:
(a) Discharge from Home Treatment Team to GP/referring agent
(b) Discharge from Home Treatment Team to other appropriate agencies (e.g. addiction services)
(c) Discharge from Home Treatment Team to Community Mental Health Team (e.g. Community Mental Health Nurse, Day Centre, Occupational Therapist, Social Worker, Psychology etc)
(d) Admission to acute inpatient unit
Hopefully this explains the rationale for such an approach by our team for your assessments and the process involved. This process will greatly reduce the need for in-patient care as a collaborative process is established from start to end with you taking responsibility for your own mental health care needs.