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Title: Continuity of care and clinical outcomes in the community care of patients with psychosis
Author: Puntis, Stephen Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 6063 2579
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Continuity of care in mental health care is considered both an important objective of NHS policy and vital to clinical practice. However, it remains poorly defined and there is little research into its association with outcomes. Mental health services are unique in their ability to legally compel patients to adhere to treatment in the community and there has been no research into how this may affect continuity. My thesis aims to critically appraise the definition of continuity of care and systematically review the literature on its association with outcomes. It also measures its association with readmission by conducting a longitudinal study, and measures the association between community compulsion and continuity of care. The literature review confirmed that continuity of care is best understood as the process of care of an individual patient over time. This is perceived by both the patient and providers of care as comprehensive, consistent, and connected. The systematic review found little evidence for an association between continuity of care and outcomes but that this may be due to persisting variation in both measures and outcomes. Results from the longitudinal study suggested that better continuity was associated with both better and worse hospital outcomes. Community compulsion had no association with continuity of care. My findings suggest that patient follow-up has improved considerably in the last three decades and, because of this, some traditional measures of continuity may be redundant. Measures of frequency of contact do not accurately measure the flexible, assertive practice that is a feature of current services. Continuity of care is useful as an indicator of the process of care but for it to be an effective research tool there needs to be a radical change in the way it is measured. Current mental health services are characterised by separation and specialisation into different components of care. Therefore, the most useful measures of continuity of care may be ones which successfully measure how it can be maintained between these services.
Supervisor: Burns, Tom ; Rugkåsa, Jorun Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available