Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Roles and competencies of the Support Facilitator in Australia’s recovery-oriented mental health initiative: a qualitative study from Gippsland, Victoria

Keith Sutton A C , Anton N. Isaacs A , Kim Dalziel B and Darryl Maybery A

A Monash University, School of Rural Health, MUDRIH, PO Box 973, Moe, Vic. 3825, Australia. Email: anton.isaacs@monash.edu; darryl.maybery@monash.edu

B Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Level 4, 207 Bouverie Street, Vic. 3010, Australia. Email: kim.dalziel@unimelb.edu.au

C Corresponding author. Email: keith.sutton@monash.edu

Australian Health Review - http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AH15183
Submitted: 30 September 2015  Accepted: 29 February 2016   Published online: 14 April 2016

Abstract

Objective This study explored the roles and competencies of Support Facilitators (SFs) engaged in the implementation of the Partners in Recovery initiative in a rural region of Victoria.

Methods Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 32 stakeholders involved in the initiative, of which 15 were SFs.

Results Two main themes and 10 subthemes emerged from the data: (1) SF competencies (which included an understanding of local services as well as administrative and social skills); and (2) the SF role (which included them being a single point of contact, providing care coordination, assisting the client to become self-reliant, achieving good outcomes for clients with confronting behaviours, judiciously using flexible funding, clearly outlining their role with clients and maintaining boundaries and performing a different role from that of the mental health case manager).

Conclusions The roles and competencies of the SF in the Partners in Recovery initiative in Gippsland were congruent with the defined characteristics of a care coordination approach. The results highlight how the SF role differs from that of traditional clinical case managers. These findings are important for future mental health service policy development, education and training of mental health practitioners and recruitment of personnel to care coordination roles.

What is known about the topic? There is a growing body of literature highlighting the importance of care coordination in delivery of positive outcomes for people with chronic and complex health problems. However, little is documented about the care coordination role of SFs as part of the Partners in Recovery initiative in Australia.

What does this paper add? This paper identifies the roles and competencies of SFs in the Partners in Recovery initiative in a rural region of Victoria. The paper highlights that the emergent competencies and role functions are congruent with the defined characteristics of a care coordination approach but differ from that of mental health case managers.

What are the implications for practitioners? These findings are important for future mental health service policy development, education and training of mental health practitioners and recruitment of personnel to care coordination roles.

Additional keywords: care coordination, collaborative care, nonclinical mental health services.


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