Benefits Of Mental Health Services

Mental health is a term used in reference to an individual’s emotional and psychological well-being. The mental health services have many benefits for the patient. They offer the specialized and skilled service which can give the better remedy results. The mental health services would gives the best health facilities that would boost the health of the particular patient reliving him of most of the mental problems in due course.

Mental Health illness is one of the most difficult situations to deal with. It becomes even tougher when the mental strength of a person is lost and is regarded as to be extremely serious in situation. It is incredibly necessary to get the suitable mental health services in order to give the particular patient with the best treatment possible to check out and give him back to normal. The mental sickness can be caused because of a lot of possible reasons like the shock throughout an incident or an event, emotional disturbance, hormonal changes and many more reasons. There are many mental health services that can supply the best of the treatment to the person struggling from mental sickness or emotional disturbances.

It is usually seen that the family members of the person who is suffering from mental disorder try to hide the circumstance by not discussing the same with the medical practitioner or a psychiatrist. It is very necessary to understand the stage and the problem that the patient is heading via to get the best possible mental health treatment.

There are several mental health help providers’ organizations that give services which help the persons suffering from various mental disorder like the autistic spectrum issue, tough behavioral issues disabilities etc. The education programs and mental health clinics conducted by these organizations help the persons in understanding the various aspects of irritability, mental hygiene and mental well being. They also teach normal individuals for acquiring the best mental health and to offer with pressure, irritability and many far more things.

Mental health awareness and subsequent treatment decreases medical costs. Many studies have shown that when people seek mental health care, their use of medical services declines. People with untreated mental health problems visit a medical doctor twice as often as people who receive care for their mental health problems. Untreated mental health issues negatively affect person’s overall health.

Just as people can have physical problems, so can they have mental health problems. It is very essential that we as a society accept this truth and teach our children from a young age that not feeling well psychologically or emotionally and that there is mental health help available. Mental sickness is a part of life as millions of people are affected each year. Education is the main key to bringing mental health issues out of the shadows.

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Select Healthcare Mental Healthcare

An adult who is suffering from a diagnosed mental illness does not have to go hospital for care and treatment.

Instead they can go to Coach House, a 66 bed mental healthcare home in Wolverton in the West Midlands run by Select Healthcare Group. Coach is a beautiful old country house where residents can enjoy such amenities as gardening, day trips, a TV lounge and walks in the country. Residents even have access to a computer so they can keep in touch with loved ones through e-mail

Even though Coach House is not a hospital it offers full mental healthcare services to residents including fully trained mental health nurses on duty 24 hours a day. A counselor/psychotherapist and occupational therapist are also on staff to help patients. The nurses and therapists are backed up by a team of certified workers with years of experience in mental healthcare.

This facility specializes in the assessment of alcohol related disorders and Wernicke/Korsakoffs. An adult suffering from these problems can get the assessment they need without going to hospital.

Every patient at Coach House has a treatment plan devised for their specific needs. These programs are designed to help each resident recover and return to normal life in their own time.

The facility is divided into two homes: Primrose Home for short term treatment of individuals who can soon return to a normal life and Poppy House for those who need a long term stay. Both homes have a wide variety of activities available so each patient will remain active and have fun.

Select Healthcare goes out of its way to make sure that the patients are as independent as possible and having fun. A fulltime activities coordinator designs activities ranging from bingo outings to gardening to keep residents engaged.

All of the care and treatment at Coach House is designed to help patients return to society and a normal life. Since the care is personalized each patient is allowed to recover at their own pace and receives constant monitoring to ensure that they are getting the proper care.

In addition to caring for the patient, Select Healthcare can help patients and their families work with the government to get care paid for. Persons who are diagnosed with a mental illness or similar problem should qualify for the Disability Living Allowance and payments from National Health for nursing care.

Select Healthcare can help patients get these subsidies so they can stay as long as they need.

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Mental Health Care Home

You have to be very careful when you are searching for a residential facility for an older relative with mental problems. A large percentage of elderly people suffer with mental health problems ranging from depression to dementia yet many nursing homes are not equipped to help them.

You can determine if a facility is a nursing home or a mental health care home by asking a few simple questions. The answers you to get these questions can help you determine if the facility can actually deal with a person with mental health issues or not.

The first and most important question you should ask is does the facility have a geriatric psychiatrist or psychologist available to treat the patients. A geriatric psychiatrist or psychologist is a doctor who specializes in treating older persons with mental problems.

Such a physician can ensure that your loved one gets proper treatment for their problem. Make sure that if such experts are available they are regular visiting and examining the patients to see if their conditions have changed.

The next and most important question you need to ask is what will the facility do to keep your loved one safe? Don’t just take the mental health care home’s staff’s word for it, examine the facility yourself.

Make sure the windows and doors are locked so the patients can’t wander off. Make sure the grounds are secured by a fence to keep patients from walking off.

Most important of all check to see if somebody is regularly watching the patients and the entrances to the facilities to make sure nobody gets out. Make sure the staff monitors the doors and checks up on patients on a regular basis.

Ask what precautions are in place to keep the patients in the facility. Do they have TV cameras to monitor the grounds and the facility? Does somebody actually monitor the TV cameras?

Ask if they have a Wanderguard or other system to track people with dementia (memory loss). Such a system can help the facility locate a patient that wanders away.

Ask the staff to demonstrate system and show you how it works. Then look around and make sure the system is actually in use.

Finally make sure the facility is secure from the outside. There are some criminals who are so sleazy that they actually try to sneak into mental health care homes and take advantage of the people there. Check to see that measures such as locked doors, guards at the doors and TV cameras are in place to keep the bad guys out of the mental health care home.

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The Advantages Of Outsourcing Your Mental Health Billing

The health care industry has undergone some significant changes over recent years. A series of new administrative difficulties were brought about by the need to deal with complicated insurance forms and prepare insurance policy procedures. As a result, many practices choose to outsource their medical billing to independent professionals. Mental health practices are no exception to this rule.

When it comes to handling your mental health billing, you are presented with several options, the most common of which are as follows: you can try to do your mental health billing yourself, you can hire new staff to do that for you, or you can use one of the many mental health billing services available on the market. There are some advantages and disadvantages to each of these alternatives.

Doing your mental health billing yourself is cost-effective, but it can be very time consuming, and have a negative impact on the efficient running of your practice, including a reduced number of patients and many missed appointments. If you opt for hiring your own staff to handle your mental health billing, you will eventually find that this course of action is neither time nor cost-effective. Hiring new billing staff requires extra space, as well as extra costs with payroll and payroll taxes. On the other hand, outsourcing your billing to a mental health billing service company emerges as a very good option, as it equals efficiency, time-effectiveness and the opportunity to control your costs.

When you choose to outsource your billing to medical billing professionals, there are numerous advantages on your part. Mental health billing service equals professionalism, experience and specialization, which is exactly what the efficient running of your practice requires. A mental health billing specialist can perform most of the major services that healthcare insurance encompasses, such as paper and electronic billing, super bill design, electronic claim submission, dead claim recovery, claim entry, annual code updates, insurance verification, patient setup, consultation, fee reviews, eligibility testing, customized service for your practice, reporting, etc. And when the mental health billing service that you choose includes the use of exclusively designed mental health billing software (either your already-existing one or the one that that they provide), things couldn’t be simpler.

You are probably aware of how demanding the mental health billing task can be, and how no more than a minute error can lead to your insurance application being rejected. Such errors can be easily avoided with the assistance of a professional mental health billing service.

In conclusion, using a mental health billing service is both effective and efficient. The advantages on your part include time and cost effectiveness, less paperwork, fewer missed appointments, more clients, compliance with HIPAA, and the opportunity to keep a client database. Your mental health biller can work from his or her home and log into your computer to use your already-existing database or one that will be set up especially for you. If you are already using mental health billing software, your mental health biller can work on that. If not, all your mental health billing can be handled with the help of specially designed billing software that professional billers can provide for you.

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Health Care – If You Love Health Care

All about Health Care: Intended For Individuals

There is a common saying health is wealth” and the finest way towards healthy future is to maintain regular healthy routine, practice good habits and to always remain happy. Health care is prevention, illness management and treatment along with preservation of physical as well as mental well being by means of services offered through nursing, mental along with associated health vocation.

Health care cuddles all services and goods that are mainly designed in order to promote the health comprising curative, palliative and preventive inventions whether intended for individuals. Pre-arranged provisions for such services that may constitute system of health care include specific government organization like National Health Services or some other social services.

Health care is usually provided in many developing and developed countries to almost everybody regardless of an individual’s ability to compensate. Health care paybacks are of big worry especially for the families along with the costs having skyrocketed for the employers.

You can easily obtain information concerning health care by surfing websites, which provides comprehensive source of orientation in order to look after well-being of your family and yourself. There are few tips concerning health care that are necessary to take care of which may include:

Checking of medicines regularly
You must try to avoid supplements as well as drugs, particularly painkillers as it can create heat burn within the body and hinders the internal system of your body. Always refer to those medicines that are prescribed by the doctor.

Examine your own diet
Always try to avoid caffeine, dark chocolates as well as high acid foods such as citrus juices. Do not over eat as it can lead to obesity. Rich food is much and more powerful than any other prescription in order to take proper health care.

Quit smoking
Smoking is injurious to health as it can destroy your lungs because tobacco irritates the digestive tract and this contributes to severe health problems.

Loose weight
Weight loss is the most common health care step that is necessary to take care of. You must avoid eating junk food or oily food as it can creates mess in the process of digestive system workings. Do not starve or skip your meals as by doing so the metabolism process would get obstruct that can lead to indigestion.

Reduce stress
To take proper health care, reducing your stress is an important element that one should always consider. Stress can also lead to overeating which in turn leads to obesity and creates malfunctioning inside your body. Obesity is the common problem from which every individual suffer from, thus keeping yourself happy is the finest way to take proper health care.

Exercises
Doing exercise is the best way to remain fit and healthy. By doing regular aerobic program, brisk walk daily and by practicing yoga everyday, it becomes possible for an individual to maintain health care. One can also opt for meditation that helps a person in eliminating stress and keeping oneself calm and stress free.

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Mental Health Care

Mental Health Care is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. There are various facets to mental illness. The most heard and common are Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, dementia etc.These generally stem out of depression. Let us try and analyze how and why depression sets in.

Depression is one of most common mental illness and can be cured by timely mental health care. It can include both emotional and physical symptoms. Both types are controlled by chemicals called neurotransmitters. Depression does have other symptoms which we usually associate with emotional distress; such as unexplained aches and pains, or digestive problems.

The first step in Mental Health care is to find out how and why these illness occur.Everyone feels down at times, but long-term or severe symptoms may indicate a mood disorder, such as major depression which is also called clinical depression. Dysthymia is a less severe form. Bipolar disorder which was formerly known as manic depression involves alternating episodes of depression and mania. Postpartum depression occurs within a year of childbirth.

Although emotional symptoms have traditionally been used to detect depression, research shows that physical symptoms are also very common and should not be overlooked. The body has nerve pathways that determine how it handles pain sensations and emotions.

The spinal cord is the central ‘street’ along which the messages go back and forth to the organs, nerves and cells. These messages are relayed by neurotransmitters in the brain, and regulate emotions and sensitivity to pain. However when these neurotransmitters go out of balance, a person can become depressed and is more likely to feel pain or other physical symptoms.

The next step in mental health care is to find out the ways of checking whether an individual is under Depression. The following is the checklist: Is the individual in an irritable mood much of the time? Has he/she lost interest or the pleasure in life? Is the person experiencing constant feeling of excessive guilt? Is there a reduced level of concentration and significant weight gain or weight loss when he/she is not actually dieting?

The other symptoms which can be related to depression are:Unexplained lack of sleep, excessive sleepiness and fatigue. Excessive restlessness or complete listlessness,Recurrent thoughts of suicide,Difficulty in managing diabetes or other chronic illness,Aches or pains that don’t improve,Digestive problems, headaches, backaches, chest pain or occasional dizziness and Family history of depression.

The mental health care for the above discussed is to consult a doctor if one manifests five or more of the above symptoms.

Depression and related mental ailments is a biological illness. It needs attention as much as any other illness. Patients need support and patience from friends and family members, while counseling and medication can be treatment options. Medication should be taken as directed by a doctor and may be continued for weeks or months to prevent recurrences.

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Mental Health Care Outreach and Social Media

If you work in the mental health field, you are a natural born communicator. Can we all agree that there is no counseling without a true command of language? After all, psychiatrists, counselors and social workers must all be well versed in BOTH, the spoken and written word to succeed within their chosen career fields.

Counseling sessions are based on active listening skills and the ability to successfully organize and summarize what the client shares. In addition, everything learned from each client session must be converted to accurate, comprehensive and concise progress notes. The data is often admissible in legal proceedings, so the mental health professional must be able to use an economy of words which express a multitude of thoughts and details. Let’s also just remind everyone that professionalism and field credibility also requires neatness, flawless spelling and grammar and attention to proper syntax.

So, where does Social Media enter in to a discussion about listening, thinking, talking, writing and detail orientation?

Social Media Represents the “New World” of Opportunity for Everyone

Social Media is an important form of communication these days. It is becoming a communication tool of choice for many mentally ill clients, especially when they wish to communicate – anonymously – with others to avoid positive

identification and attached stigma. Mental Health professionals are increasingly spending their counseling time instructing their clients in the safe and productive use of Social Media, for this purpose. The chief goal is ALWAYS to protect the vulnerable from exploitation.

The mental health professional is also using Social Media as a way to gain additional professional knowledge as well as to network with others in his own field; including the many that live and work a great distance away.

There are also new opportunities for degree work and certification through online universities and professional organizations, respectively. There are moderated and open forums for career-related discussions on a variety of professional topics developed to advance the field of mental health care.

Plenty of collegial relations and friendships have been forged in the online world, often leading to one-to-one telephone conversations and live meetups. Face-to-face meeting have always been the goal of Social Media, which is designed as an enabler and not a replacement for physical human interaction.

Job information has been exchanged and employment interview offers are often tendered online. And, then there is the research that keeps the mental health care professional up to date on the changes taking places in his field from day to day. Some of the research and anecdotal contributions are the product of practitioners, just like you and me, who choose the Internet as a place to publish our work and share it with the world. We no longer need to wait for third parties to publish what we write.

Forget the Yellow Pages. You Must be Active in Social Media to

Succeed

There is another area in which the worlds of mental health care and Social Media often come together – marketing and outreach. Can any nonprofit or private business afford not to avail themselves of the benefits offered through Social Media? I think not. Why? Because, the collective Social Media audience is huge and diverse. We need the kind of visibility and name recognition that the Internet can lead us to.

Most everyone that we need to connect with is already online, with more and more people showing up daily. Facebook, alone, is already at or nearing 600 million users. Confidently, there is no one on earth that does not know – at least – a single person with a Facebook profile.

Marketing and outreaching others in Social Media need not take a huge amount of resources, either. In fact, the entire effort can be limited to just a few platforms and a limited amount of posts on a consistent basis. This is resource allocation, well positioned.

Are you LinkedIn?

All professionals in any field belong on LinkedIn. Create a profile with your credentials, contact information and over time, as many business references as you can gather. Take some time to join some professional groups and pose and answer career-related questions among the group members. There is a lot to learn from others and much one can share to prove his field expertise. It is such expertise that builds professional credibility and helping relations over time. Such relationships are invaluable when it comes to creating all sorts of professional opportunities including business partnerships, client referrals and employment offers. Do not discount the value of LinkedIn as a premier Social Networking platform for mental health care professionals.

Are you Facebooking?

Facebook is another place where the people we need and wish to “talk” to are a great deal of the time. Sure, it is a place where one must be especially careful not to embarrass himself among his friends or professional colleagues, but it is a place where using good posting discretion can balance the fun with the serious. The common denominator is “value.” Bring value to others and garner their respect and loyalty.

Facebook does have a business side, too. The Facebook business page offers a place to create and foster community, client and professional relations through providing value to some and offering an outlet for others to do the same. A few well placed posts about happenings in the mental health care field on your Facebook business page and a few more quality posts and comments on the pages of others you seek to have an audience with and you are on your way to growing a successful Facebook presence. Just remember that on Social Media, it’s not all about you. Value for others, FIRST. You have the right to pitch your own endeavors about 15% of the time. Do not try and sell in Social Media; work harder to impress. Being respected and liked will get you the opportunities you are looking for.

Have you Blogged, Today?

Blogging is also a great tool to become better known. Show you are an expert in something and share it wherever you can. One or two 400 – 500 word blog posts per week, can quickly establish a professional as an expert that others want to hear from regularly. Invite others to write for your blog, too. Guest bloggers are refreshing and help give the impression that your blog is important enough for others to take the time and contribute to. Their followers will come to read their posts and have a chance to read yours. Often newspaper and magazine writers read the blogs, so don’t be surprised when you receive offers to publish your contributions in their print and online publications. This is good for you and your business, because their readers are probably your own target audience.

When did you last Tweet?

Do you need to tweet? Twitter can be effective if you can develop a targeted and convertible following. Building such a dedicated following takes much work. You want to create a following of credible mental health care gurus; respected field publications; a pool of mainstream field nonprofits and for-profit; federal, state and local government leaders; supportive local businesses and potential client groups. Retweeting others and replying to their tweets is just as important as tweeting your own materials. Again, you must limit tooting your own horn to about 15% of your tweets. Tweet value and seek to connect with others. If you can build relations and take them off-line, you are succeeding.

Are you in Constant Contact with your Primary Audience?

Lastly, look into using an E-mail service such as Constant Contact to keep your audience up to date. Send out a monthly newsletter; issue announcements such as new hires and business expansions; announce your Social Media presence: and even create event invitations and holiday E-cards for your contacts. The more you can get your name in front of others, the better it is remembered. Just don’t overdo it. Strike a balance by using all of your Social Media tools, timely and appropriately.

This is a very exciting time for mental health care professionals. Their appropriate use of Social Media can do many wonderful things for them; their professions; their businesses and organizations; and the clients they serve.

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New Trends in Mental Health Care

I’ve been writing about the hurdles that the mental health care system has been facing since the recession struck the country. What I haven’t written about is where this whole thing is going and which trends are surfacing.

The trend these days is to shift from “monster units” that house 20 or more people to Community Based and Teaching Family Programs.

On one hand, having smaller case loads makes programming easier and the number of behavioral incidents get substantially reduced by having less crowded buildings. If it’s hard to live with just one person under the same roof, imagine living with 20 (with psychological issues). Moreover, staffing big units is not always an easy task and supply of qualified staff has surprisingly shrunk during the past months. We were expecting a surge in demand due to the recession but for some reason (unknown to me) this hasn’t happened.

Another advantage of having smaller units is that the stress levels that staff are subject to are greatly reduced (which helps decrease turn-over rates) as a consequence of having fewer incidents and a slower paced environment.

Even though the legal client to staff ratio is 8:1 big units need to have at least a 5:1 ratio to ensure proper coverage during crisis situations and daily programming. This greatly impacts budgets and is one of the main problems that service providers are having across the country. Unfortunately there’s no way of reducing FTEs without affecting service quality, the latter being often the loser in this battle since budgets are the priority. I think this is mainly why funding agencies are pushing towards more home-like settings.

Additionally, mental health care facilities have been reticent to expand their community based programs for a simple reason: less beds means less money. But empty beds are starting to pile up so it makes no sense keeping a big building fully operational if you are going to operate at half capacity. It’s a waste of resources. Furthermore, if you think about it, TFP and Community based programs give more flexibility and are better suited for growth. If you plan to expand your business it’s easier to buy a small house or sign in a family for a TFP than building a big facility from scratch. You are also not constricted to available (physical) space on your campus or center, thus there’s basically unlimited possibilities for expansion.

Having smaller units also means lower maintenance costs, and the opportunity to develop more and more diverse programs to fit the different populations.

Something that cannot be stressed enough is the importance of having a homogeneous population in each building. Usually, the bigger the unit the more diverse the conditions it serves. This can make daily activities a nightmare since clients’ preferences and needs greatly vary. By having small and homogeneous groups this can be avoided.

While some organizations have reacted faster to the new environment and are currently expanding at a frantic pace, others have been more skeptical and tried to stay on course, crashing into the reality wall. They have realized that the near future doesn’t look so bright and therefore, they have started to lay out plans to expand into the community. The fate of some will depend on how fast they can deploy. Other organizations, which enjoy a big enough financial cushion, will have time to make this transition in a tidy manner.

Fernando Tarnogol is an Argentinean psychologist, currently working as Program Coordinator at the Devereux Foundation in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

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A Quick Guide To Mental Health Care

More and more people are afflicted with mental health issues today. The incidence of mental problems has risen gradually over the last decade as a direct result of the lives we lead. Everyone in society is stressed, rushing around constantly and has no time at all to relax. Depression can set in as a result of this or of a dissolved marriage, a death in the family, after giving birth and for a huge variety of other reasons. People tend to work through depression as best they can because they do not want to have it on their record as a result of the stigma. That could actually harm their chances of getting employment in the future. However, as society is beginning to get more clued up about depression, it is essential that everybody have provisions for mental health care.

Depression is just one of the mental illnesses that people can actually suffer from but it is in fact the most common. It is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and this can result in mood swings, low self-esteem and self-harm. However, people generally tend to hide it very well so that, when they do get treatment, the ailment has already gone on to the point that the individual sufferer has gone as low as they can possibly go. It is at this point that they actually need mental health care treatment. It is only mental health care treatment that can save them from themselves and restore them to health at this point.

It is not only mental health care treatment that is required at this stage because someone who suffers from depression cannot drag him or herself out of it on their own. They need a good support network and friends and family who understand what they are going through. They often need someone on the outside to show them a degree of understanding too so they know that they are not going mad and are in fact perfectly normal. Mental health care workers are perfect for this role. Whilst some individuals turn their noses up at mental health care workers, it is not fair to consider them as individuals that cannot help. The profession is needed now more than ever so a certain degree of understanding is required on the part of the sufferer too.

Mental health care may also incorporate the need for anti-depressants or other similar medication. Some individuals may be able to resolve their mental health problems without the need for medication, but others will not. However, you should only take something for depression when a mental health care professional prescribes them. It is an illness and is rarely made up because of the stigma attached. As a result, society should have a little more understanding.

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Nine Recommendations to Increase Continuity of Mental Health Care For Schizophrenia Patients

Continuity of therapy is a vital component of quality care for people with serious mental illnesses and must be given more attention by consumers themselves, family members, advocates, providers, administrators, and researchers alike. At the moment, there is an important opportunity to develop a national consensus statement on the principles and practice standards that should form the basis of a continuum of therapy designed to provide realistic assurance that consumers can access vital medications when and where they are needed. Important strides have been made in identifying the specific factors which promote continuity of therapy – it is time to seize this important opportunity as yet another stepping stone to achieving the transformation of America’s mental health care system for the benefit of consumers and their families, our communities, and our Nation. A roundtable of mental health experts has developed a set of nine recommendations for enhancing continuity of medication therapy for persons with schizophrenia or serious mental illness, including schizophrenia. They are as follows:

Mental Healthcare Recommendation #1 –

Encourage collaborations between hospitals and community-based organizations. Use fiscal incentives to foster collaborations including the standardization of information and shared electronic health records.

Mental Healthcare Recommendation #2 –

Use a quality improvement approach to enhance continuity of therapy by benchmarking at the organizational level performance and outcomes standards regarding continuity of care.

Mental Healthcare Recommendation #3 –

Ensure all consumers have a level of care management for the transition from inpatient to community. Care management services should be reimbursable by all payers and the disincentives to providing it should be removed.

Mental Healthcare Recommendation #4 –

Hospitals and community providers should focus on the “Pull Model” of transition from inpatient to outpatient care. The Pull Model focuses on involving community-based providers in the transition planning process from the beginning. Provider organizations should focus on staff competency in engagement and strategies and motivational interviewing.

Mental Healthcare Recommendation #5 –

Accreditation standards should be aligned to address and improve continuity of therapy in treating serious mental illness. This may include developing standards to ensure evidence of an active process of care management and transition between levels of care, a quality review of the success of transition plans, and measuring engagement.

Mental Healthcare Recommendation #6 –

Consumers and their families should be educated about the benefits of maintaining their personal health care history. Ensuring that consumers have detailed information about their illnesses and treatment history will help ensure that providers have access to the information they need to provide appropriate care in a timely manner. The options here range from simple paper and pencil logs and medication histories to electronic records on memory sticks.

Mental Healthcare Recommendation #7 –

Consumer-driven recovery planning should include and the appropriate and necessary use of hospitalization. More thoughtful use of inpatient services could lead to a reduction in emergency room use and ultimately to a decrease in the number of hospitalizations.

Mental Healthcare Recommendation #8 –

Parties who collect data about mental health services and performance should share it with appropriate stakeholders in usable and timely ways. Many payers and public entities collect both population and individual specific information about mental health consumers and services. Population-based data should be shared with all stakeholders, including families and consumers to aid in enhancing the system of care.

Mental Healthcare Recommendation #9 –

There should be meaningful involvement of consumers and their advocates in all levels of system delivery and evaluation. Global involvement of consumers and their advocates in the care delivery process is essential. Examples include using peer specialists as part of a treatment team, active involvement in policy and planning, as well as involvement in developing and implementing performance measurement and evaluation.

Applying these Mental Healthcare Recommendations –

While we have learned that maintaining continuity of therapy has a positive impact on consumer outcomes, the barriers and other impediments to ensuring this continuum of care have been long entrenched in mental health and related care systems. An unacceptably high number of people with serious psychiatric issues – including schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder – are “falling between the cracks” in the transition between acute inpatient settings and the community causing harm and disruption in their own lives and those of their families and often bringing their recovery process to a halt.

A continuity of therapy initiative is likely to decrease inappropriate use of emergency room services by consumers with schizophrenia or other serious mental illnesses by assuring consistency in the disease management approach used by all community provider organizations. Both of these likely outcomes of continuity of therapy provide cost reductions for the hospital and cost offset for the investments in continuity of therapy initiative and related therapies.

In addition, the continuity of therapy initiative provides the community hospital with another very tangible benefit. The continuity of therapy initiative provides the relationships, process, and infrastructure for an overall discharge planning functionality for all consumers with mental illnesses. This discharge planning functionality is a new, and critical, element in modern behavioral health standards that began in 2007.

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