Greater access and choice for those affected by psychosis

Date: 03 February 2016

Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has partnered with Healios, a leading mental health technology organisation, to pilot a new innovative approach in delivering family intervention to those suffering from psychosis and their families or carers.

Somerset Partnership has long been at the forefront of transforming how care is delivered across the mental health spectrum. Being acutely aware of the increasing pressures and strain on the overall health system, and the complex challenges faced in delivering a sustainable service, Somerset Partnership has partnered with Healios to bring an innovative solution to support the work of the psychosis treatment team.

The partnership between Somerset Partnership and Healios is to conduct a pilot program with the aim of demonstrating evidenced based outcomes using validated scales across a number of key areas including the patient, family and treatment team. The pilot went live on Monday 30th November 2015 with the first patients and family already enrolled.

The timing of this pilot is very important for Somerset Partnership as Mental Health Trusts across England are preparing to meet the new Access and Waiting Times Standards for Psychosis coming into effect from April 2016. These new standards require patients to be treated with a package of care that meets government clinical guidelines within 2 weeks of referral. Family intervention is part of this requirement, and therefore this pilot supports Somerset Partnership in its readiness for the new standards.

One significant challenge for treatment teams, and a frustration of family members and loved ones of those with psychosis, is the ability to get information into treatment teams. To address this challenge, the pilot also includes the revolutionary new Decision Tool from Healios. The Healios Decision Tool allows patients and their family members to feedback real-time information to treatment teams on their current status. This insight into the home allows treatment teams to prioritise resources to those patients whose mental health status has declined and allows them to take appropriate action quickly to potentially mitigate an impending crisis, relapse or hospitalisation.

Dr. Frank Burbach, commented “we value the partnership with Healios because this will build upon the great work and care being delivered by Somerset Partnership to those affected by psychosis. At the same time, partnering with Healios allows the Trust to be at the forefront of healthcare. This collaborative approach helps us deliver care faster to patients and families in need, with greater choice, convenience and access from the comfort of their homes, while also allowing our clinicians to be more responsive to changes in their health.”

Andy Heron, Acting Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer at Somerset Partnership welcomed the collaboration with Healios and said: “Our Trust prides itself on innovation and high quality patient care delivered closer to home. I am pleased we have been able to join with Healios, a partnership that builds on our established record of excellent patient care and Healios’ proven track record using technology to improve the lives of patients’ with mental illness, their carers and families. As well, this pilot will help our preparations for the Government’s access and waiting times standards for psychosis due to come into effect from April 2016, and help us continue to deliver care that is both effective and timely.”

Healios, the UK’s leading provider of online clinician led family intervention, has a proven track record of delivering improved patient and family outcomes, increased access and exceptional customer experience, whilst delivering significant efficiency savings for the health service. This, together with the clinical expertise, collaborative approach and the Healios philosophy of improving the lives of patients and families affected by mental illnesses, made for a winning partnership.

Richard Andrews, Founder and Chairman of Healios commented, “we are excited to partner with Somerset Partnership because they are leaders in designing and implementing family intervention services and committed to innovation and providing the highest quality of care. Healios is focused on providing outcome-based interventions which improve the lives of those suffering from mental illness and their families. The pilot will continue to build on evidence we’ve generated across the NHS, delivering new and sustainable models of care for mental health services which improves the lives of those affected by mental illness.”

Family intervention is a form of psychological therapy based on bringing the whole family together to improve treatment outcomes.  Well proven with strong clinical evidence, family intervention delivers significant benefits for patients, families and the health service as a whole. With an increased focus on mental health service provision through such measures as the Parity of Esteem, Early Intervention in Psychosis Access and Waiting Time Standards and additional funding released by the Department of Health, mental health is finally gaining parity with physical health conditions.