Integrated care

What is integrated care?

Integrated care refers to the association of multiple treatment paradigms to produce a single unified program. The idea is to deliver seamless care to the patient to ensure high treatment continuity and improve patient satisfaction. Integrated programs typically involve multi-element psychosocial therapies for mental illness. For example, integrated psychological therapy and integrated neurocognitive therapy involves a combination of cognitive and social skills training. Integrated care can also refer to the formal liaison of typically distinct services such as medical practitioners and dedicated mental health teams, or the incorporation of mental health and substance use treatments into a single program.

What is the evidence for integrated treatment programs?

Moderate to high quality evidence finds integrated psychological therapy provides benefits for symptoms, global state, functioning and cognition over standard care. Moderate to low quality evidence suggests this benefit remains regardless of treatment settings or assessment format, and is most effective for patients with stabilised symptoms. Moderate quality evidence finds integrated neurocognitive therapy provides a benefit for negative symptoms and functioning after 15 weeks of treatment and at 12 months follow up, with no lasting benefit for positive symptoms.

There are also benefits of integrated medical and mental health care for improving health outcomes and treatment needs, increasing contact with services, and improving patient satisfaction.

September 2020

Last updated at: 4:22 am, 11th September 2020
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