Improving Mental Health Guardianship

From Prevention to Treatment

Published in: Psychiatric Services (2021). doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.202100020

by Amy L. Shearer, Elizabeth Bromley, Curley Bonds, Connie Draxler, Dmitry Khodyakov

Read More

Access further information on this document at Psychiatry Online

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Objective

The authors sought to identify the most promising strategies for improving the mental health guardianship process in Los Angeles County for adults with mental illness who are gravely disabled.

Methods

In May and June 2019, 56 experts, working in hospitals or outpatient facilities or representing legal, advocacy, policy, or forensic organizations, participated in an online modified-Delphi panel, rating the ethical appropriateness, impact on care quality, efficiency, and feasibility of nine strategies for improvement of mental health guardianship. Agreement was determined with the RAND/UCLA appropriateness method, and comments were thematically analyzed.

Results

The strategy ranked highest by the participating experts was improving the administrative functioning and judicial processes of entities involved in mental health guardianship proceedings—it was the only strategy that achieved agreement among panelists and was rated highly on all four criteria. Other preferred strategies were enhancing the ability of assertive outpatient mental health teams to serve individuals before they experience a crisis and expanding the continuum of unlocked residential treatment settings.

Conclusions

Opportunities exist to improve all stages of the mental health guardianship process. Experts favored strategies that streamline administrative processes, facilitate community integration into treatment, and ensure fidelity to best practices. Improving the mental health guardianship process has the potential to speed up delivery of services, better manage resources, and increase access to treatment for individuals with mental illness who are gravely disabled.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.