Background: Mental health service users have high rates of medical co-morbidity but frequently experience problems accessing and transitioning between tertiary medical and primary care services. The aim of this study was to identify ways to improve service users' with medical co-morbidity care and experience during their transition between tertiary medical hospitals and primary care services. Method: Experience-based co-design (EBCD) qualitative study incorporating a focus group discussion. The study took place in a large tertiary medical service, incorporating three medical hospitals, and primary care services, in Melbourne, Australia. A purposive sample of service users and their caregivers and tertiary medical and primary care clinicians participated in the focus group discussion, in August 2014. A semi-structured interview guide was used to inform data collection. A thematic analysis of the data was undertaken. Results: Thirteen participants took part in the focus group interview, comprising 5 service users, 2 caregivers and 6 clinicians. Five themes were abstracted from the data, illustrating participants' perspectives about factors that facilitated (clinicians' expertise, engagement and accessibility enhancing transition) and presented as barriers (improving access pathways; enhancing communication and continuity of care; improving clinicians' attitudes; and increasing caregiver participation) to service users' progress through tertiary medical and primary care services. A sixth theme, enhancing service users' transition, incorporated three strategies to enhance their transition through tertiary medical and primary care services. Conclusion: EBCD is a useful approach to collaboratively develop strategies to improve service users' with medical co-morbidity and their caregivers' transition between tertiary medical and primary care services. A whole-of-service approach, incorporating policy development and implementation, change of practice philosophy, professional development education and support for clinicians, and acceptance of the need for caregiver participation, is required to improve service users' transition.
Cranwell, K., Polacsek, M., & McCann, T. V. (2016). Improving mental health service users’ with medical co-morbidity transition between tertiary medical hospital and primary care services: A qualitative study. BMC Health Services Research, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-016-1567-3