Introduction This paper reports first experiences while providing blended (combined face-to-face and internet-based) flexible assertive community treatment (FACT) to outpatients with severe mental illnesses (SMI). The aim was to compare treatment satisfaction, clinical outcome and quality of life in the short term (3 months) of patients receiving blended FACT with those receiving conventional FACT. Method This pilot study was designed as an open label prospective controlled cohort study. 47 SMI patients were found eligible and non-randomly allocated to Blended FACT (n = 25) or to conventional FACT (n = 22). Data were collected at baseline and at a 3-month follow-up. Measures included were the Dutch Mental Health Care Thermometer, Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (HONOS), Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life (MANSA), EuroQoL 5 dimensional (EQ5D) and the Mental Health Confidence Scale (MHCS). Results At a three months follow-up, patients reported slightly improved quality of life (EuroQoL 5 dimensional, Wald χ2(1) = 6.80, p = 0.01; MANSA, Wald χ2(1) = 4.02, p = 0.05) and self-efficacy beliefs regarding their mental health problems (MHCS, Wald χ2(1) = 3.71, p = 0.05). HONOS scores did not change over time, Wald χ2(1) = 2.34, p = 0.13. Satisfaction scores were on average between satisfactory – good (BI: M = 7.50, SD = 1.54; CAU: M = 7.53 SD = 0.96; on a 1–10 scale). These results did not differ between the two study groups. Conclusion It appears acceptable to patients to provide blended FACT with SMI, with outcomes comparable to face-to-face FACT. A future high quality trial is warranted to establish (cost-)effectiveness of blended FACT.
Blankers, M., van Emmerik, A., Richters, B., & Dekker, J. (2016). Blended internet care for patients with severe mental illnesses: An open label prospective controlled cohort pilot study. Internet Interventions, 5, 51–55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.invent.2016.07.004