Home treatment (HT) represents a team-based community mental health service for patients in acute mental health crises, providing an alternative to a hospital stay. Enhancing mental health services within the community is an ongoing concern in many industrial countries that originated in the deinstitutionalisation of mental health care. Both, implementing new mental health care services, as well as conducting experimental studies on those services within routine clinical settings bring about particular challenges. The aim of this thesis is to outline key factors associated with the successful study and implementation of HT.
Three empirical studies were conducted for this thesis; all of them are based on an extensive research project (N=707) accompanying the introduction of a new HT service to the Canton of Aargau, Switzerland.
The first study examines the validity of psychiatric diagnoses obtained by clinicians during routine clinical examinations for a subsample of the main HT study project. The second study analyses stakeholdersâ€™ perspectives, aiming to identify effective components of HT and to evaluate the implementation of the new HT service. And the third study aims to refine patient suitability for HT using patient characteristics.
Insights of theses three studies are reviewed and implications for research and practice are outlined in a general discussion within this thesis.