This national study explored the issue of how adults with serious mental illness (not including Alzheimer’s) in Canada might benefit from publicly funded home care services. The project conducted a national evaluation of the accessibility, appropriateness, and effectiveness of existing home care services for adults with serious mental illness by reviewing completed surveys from 77 branches of the CMHA and 140 home care organizations, comments from patients and families in 13 cross-Canada focus group sessions, and information from face-to-face interviews with 142 key stakeholders. Concurrently, site-specific pilot programs were developed, implemented, and evaluated in Taber, Ottawa, and St. John’s, showing that there is a variety of ways to integrate mental health and home care. The report recommends a series of changes to policy and practice that would relieve the “revolving door syndrome” of the mentally ill cycling in and out of hospital: making admission planning to home care part of hospital discharge planning, providing more support to caregivers and home care staff, and undertaking intensive case management. The report also makes the case for improving the integration of home care and mental health services in all parts of Canada.
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.