Mobile crisis services: How effective are they at crisis stabilization, hospital diversion, client satisfaction and linkage with mental health treatment and supportive services in the community

Linda Sacco, Fordham University

Abstract

Mobile Crisis Services (MCS) are an integral component of the continuum of mental health services. MCS provide home and community-based emergency and crisis mental health treatment to individuals who are often unable or unwilling to access traditional mental health care in the community. Many of the recipients of this service have been previously untreated in the community. The personal and societal consequences of untreated mental illness are devastating. MCS can act as a bridge that addresses the barriers to treatment and secures treatment for individuals in acute distress. However, until recently, there have been few attempts to test empirically claims that MCS can effectively stabilize crisis situations in the community. ^ The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of MCS through the ability to stabilize crisis situations, to divert psychiatric hospitalizations for acutely and severely ill individuals, to link individuals in crisis with mental health and supportive services in the community and to maintain high levels of client satisfaction. It also examined the demographic and clinical factors related to the ability to successfully meet these goals. A retrospective chart review was conducted on 360 case records for clients of the Mobile Crisis Service of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. ^ Results revealed that the program stabilized 87% of participants through short-term crisis intervention and linkage with mental health and supportive services in the community. The program facilitated psychiatric hospitalization for 6% of participants and diverted psychiatric hospitalization for 10% of participants. Additionally, recipients of the service were overwhelmingly satisfied with the services provided by the Mobile Crisis Service. Numerous demographic and clinical characteristics were related to the ability to successfully intervene and stabilize crisis situations. The findings suggest that Mobile Crisis Services are an effective method of delivering emergency and crisis mental health care. ^ This study attempted to address some of the methodological limitations inherent in researching Mobile Crisis Services. Implications of the findings for practice and research as well as limitations of the study are discussed. Additionally, in order to promote expansion of this important adjunct to outpatient and inpatient mental health services, suggestions for continued research are presented. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Mental Health|Social Work

Recommended Citation

Linda Sacco, "Mobile crisis services: How effective are they at crisis stabilization, hospital diversion, client satisfaction and linkage with mental health treatment and supportive services in the community" (January 1, 2004). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3125135.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3125135

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