Academic journal article Australian Health Review

Knowing the People Planning: Measuring Change in Mental Health Services

Academic journal article Australian Health Review

Knowing the People Planning: Measuring Change in Mental Health Services

Article excerpt


The underlying principles of knowing the people planning (KPP) include identifying the population, knowing the needs of that population, and planning services to meet those needs.1 KPP is a practical approach that assists mental health services plan for and meet the needs of long term service users. KPP is based on an easy to use survey to evaluate the experience of service users in order to assess how well local mental health systems are working and to identify where improvements are needed. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of KPP, and to then describe how it has been used and the outcomes of its use in the Hawke's Bay mental health services. Developments in the use of KPP in the New Zealand context have been recognised by Te Pou, the National Centre for Mental Health Research, Information and Workforce Development, who have now incorporated KPP into its operations. Subsequently, the key features of KPP are now mandatory reporting to the Ministry of Health for all District Health Boards (DHBs), which contributes to the national picture of mental health service improvement and informs the Ministry about the effectiveness of the KPP approach and its effect on services.

Philosophy of KPP

The philosophical values underpinning the KPP approach are that continuous quality improvement is informed by consumer desired outcomes. KPP enables the collection and sharing of quantitative data for learning, creating solutions and providing clear objective evidence about the effect changes and improvements have to service delivery.

The aim of KPP is to measure outcomes that really mean something to people. Anthony2 described rehabilitation outcomes of housing, social relationships and employment as the key outcomes to be measured. Research findings suggest that housing may contribute in a significant way to several individual mental health outcomes.3 One of the underpinning beliefs of KPP is that ensuring a consumer focus and consumer involvement in the process is crucial. This recognises the importance of the person's experience of support and acknowledges that service users expect tangible outcomes and where services need to move towards to identify and meet the needs of the population.

KPP provides a mechanism to ensure services are based on relevant data, rather than myth or responding to the 'catch cry' of needing more and more resources which may not be warranted. Continuous quality improvement based on quantitative data collection underpins KPP; the solutions that are identified are focussed on an evidence based approach where accurate data are used to demonstrate clearly articulated needs. Solutions to meeting these identified needs are drawn from existing community resources, where agencies and services are expected to work together and coordinate a wide range of support agencies, including employment, housing, social support and education providers. The KPP approach encourages a 'coming together' where the service, team and practitioner are called on to act responsibly to problem solve positively and to create individual solutions. Leadership is required that provides a clear vision for action and which includes and incorporates consumer perspectives.

KPP also relies on the service and consumer working in partnership and draws on a range of expectations. These expectations include that the service is recovery oriented, is focussed on the transition to primary care, and maximises natural support so the consumer is able to manage their own condition and lead an ordinary life not disrupted by frequent intrusion of services or hospital admissions. The service also needs to recognise the individual on re-entry and if necessary, assertively follow up with interventions and treatment. The service must be accountable and transparent, and have a clear specification of service values and objectives describing what will be provided. In addition, the service needs to incorporate involvement of primary healthcare needs, including access to a general practitioner, and finally, that social needs are considered in terms of stable sustainable housing, support and opportunities to choose, get and keep work, leisure or education. …

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