Measuring user and carer involvement in physical healthcare planning
It is now well recognised that people with serious mental illnesses (SMI), such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, suffer from significantly worse physical health than other people in the population. It is thought that a number of factors contribute to this inequality, including reduced healthcare access, the effects of some antipsychotic medications, as well as lifestyle choices. In recent years, researchers have started to turn their attention to this important issue, yet much more work needs to be done to help us to understand how to improve physical healthcare for people with SMI. One important component, which may help develop this understanding, is to explore service users’ current involvement in physical healthcare plans within mental health services.
There are currently no patient developed materials to assess satisfaction with, and involvement in, physical health service provision and care planning within mental health services. Without a validated measure of user and carer involvement in care it is impossible to accurately quantify the extent to which services succeed or fail to involve users and carers in the care process. We will therefore produce and validate a measure of user and carer involvement in physical healthcare planning in mental health services.
We have already completed a pilot study to identify draft questionnaire items from focus groups and interviews with mental health service users, carers and professionals and are now aiming to recruit 220 service users and carers to complete the draft questionnaire to allow us to pilot, test and refine it into a valid and reliable questionnaire measure. This measure will focus on outcomes from the service user/carer point of view and is therefore called a patient reported outcome measure (or ‘PROM’ for short).