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Crisis intervention

What are crisis interventions? 

People with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia may be in need of
emergency care at some stage in their illness, particularly in the early stages. Crisis
intervention is a treatment model designed to offer intensive crisis-focused treatment
to people living in the community, and is usually provided in the context of home-based care. Crisis intervention programs comprise teams of specialist staff who often provide 24-hour availability of support. This may be a mobile treatment, a dedicated unit based in a hospital or day centre, or a residential.

What is the evidence for crisis interventions?

Moderate to low quality evidence suggests improved overall symptoms and social
adjustment by 20 months, reduced unsociable behaviour, agitation, and disorientation
by 4-6 months, reduced family burden and disruption by 3 months but not 6 months,
and greater patient and relative satisfaction with home-based crisis intervention over
hospitalisation. Moderate to high quality evidence also suggests a small effect of home-based
crisis intervention over hospitalisation for retaining people in the study in the
medium term (6-12 months), but not the short term (< 3 months) or the long term (20


May 2016

Page last updated: 3:59  30 August 2017

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