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

Partners in Recovery program evaluation: changes in unmet needs and recovery

Nicola Hancock A D , Justin Newton Scanlan A , James A. Gillespie B C , Jennifer Smith-Merry A B and Ivy Yen B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A The University of Sydney, Faculty of Health Sciences, PO Box 170, Lidcombe, NSW 1825, Australia. Email: justin.scanlan@sydney.edu.au; jennifer.smith-merry@sydney.edu.au

B The University of Sydney, Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Email: ivy.yen@sydney.edu.au

C The University of Sydney, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Email: james.gillespie@sydney.edu.au

D Corresponding author. Email: nicola.hancock@sydney.edu.au

Australian Health Review - https://doi.org/10.1071/AH17004
Submitted: 11 January 2017  Accepted: 26 April 2017   Published online: 11 July 2017

Abstract

Objective Partners in Recovery (PIR) is an Australian government initiative designed to provide support and service linkage for individuals with complex needs living with severe and persistent mental illness. The aim of the present study was to examine whether consumers engaged in PIR programs in two large regions of Sydney experienced: (1) a reduction in unmet needs (either via self- or staff report); and (2) progress in their self-reported mental health recovery.

Methods Unmet needs were measured using the Camberwell Assessment of Need Short Appraisal Scale and recovery was measured using the Recovery Assessment Scale – Domains and Stages. For individuals with initial and follow-up data, paired t-tests were used to examine change over time.

Results At follow-up, individuals reported an average of two to three fewer unmet needs, and recovery scores increased by approximately 5% across each domain and the total score. At follow-up, the most common unmet needs were in the areas of ‘company’ and ‘daytime activities’.

Conclusions The results of the present study suggest that PIR services in these two geographical regions have achieved positive results. Individuals with severe and persistent mental illness engaged with PIR appear to have reduced their unmet needs and enhanced their mental health recovery.

What is known about the topic? PIR services were established to support individuals with severe and persistent mental illness by creating service linkages to address unmet needs in order to facilitate recovery. Services were delivered through the new role of ‘support facilitator’.

What does this paper add? By examining routinely collected outcome measures, this paper shows the success of the PIR program. Individuals engaged with PIR reported fewer unmet needs and enhanced recovery over the time they were involved with the program. However, they still faced serious challenges in building successful social interactions, such as developing friendships, and participating in meaningful activities.

What are the implications for practitioners? The support facilitator role developed as part of PIR appears to be a useful method of supporting individuals to reduce unmet needs and enhance recovery. However, further work is required to address the challenges associated with overcoming social isolation and participation in meaningful activities.


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