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A feasibility study of expert patient and community mental health team led bipolar psychoeducation groups: implementing an evidence based practice

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Katharine Coulthard, Dr Stuart Watson



Background: Group psychoeducation is a cost effective intervention which reduces relapse and improves functioning in bipolar disorder but is rarely implemented. The aim of this study was to identify the acceptability and feasibility of a group psychoeducation programme delivered by community mental health teams (CMHTs) and peer specialist (PS) facilitators. Organisational learning was used to identify and address systematically barriers and enablers, at organisational, health professional and patient levels, to its implementation into a routine service.Methods: A systematic examination of barriers and enablers to a three day training process informed the delivery of a first treatment group and a similar process informed the delivery of the second treatment group. Triangulation of research methods improved its internal validity: direct observation of training, self-rated surveys of participant experiences, group discussion, and thematically analysed individual participant and facilitator interviews were employed.Results: Barriers and enablers were identified at organisational, educational, treatment content, facilitator and patient levels. All barriers under the control of the research team were addressed with subsequent improvements in patient knowledge about the condition and about local service. In addition, self-management, agency and altruism were enhanced. Barriers that could not be addressed required senior clinical and education leadership outside the research team's control. PS and professional facilitators were successfully trained and worked together to deliver groups which were generally reported as being beneficial.Conclusion: Psychoeducation groups involving CMHT and PS facilitators is acceptable and feasible but their sustainment requires senior leadership within and outside the organisation that control finance and education services.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Coulthard K, Patel D, Brizzolara C, Morriss R, Watson S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMC Psychiatry

Year: 2013

Volume: 13

Print publication date: 11/03/2013

Date deposited: 02/09/2014

ISSN (electronic): 1471-244X

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd


DOI: 10.1186/1471-244X-13-301


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