Implementation of Consumer Providers Into Mental Health Intensive Case Management Teams

Published in: Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, v. 42, no. 1, Jan. 2015, p. 100-108

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2013

by Alison Hamilton, Matthew Chinman, Amy N. Cohen, Rebecca S. Oberman, Alexander Young

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In mental health care, consumer providers (CPs) are individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) who draw upon their lived experiences while providing services to others with SMI. Implementation of CPs has proven to be challenging in a variety of settings. The PEER project (Peers Enhancing Recovery) involved rolling out CPs using an implementation science model and evaluating implementation and impact in mental health treatment settings (three intervention, three control). In qualitative interviews, facilitators and challenges to implementation were described by the CPs, their team members, clients, and study researchers. Site preparation, external facilitation, and positive, reinforcing experiences with CPs facilitated implementation. Role definitions and deficiencies in CPs' technical knowledge posed challenges to implementation. Sustainability was not realized due to insufficient resources. However, implementation was positive overall, characterized by diffusion of innovation concepts of high relative advantage, strong trialability, compatibility with prevailing norms, compelling observability, and relatively low complexity. By preparing and working systematically with intervention sites to incorporate new services, implementation was strengthened and challenges were minimized.

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