Researchers Test Outcomes-Based Treatment Plan on Older Adults with Mental Health Issues in New Hampshire

    • September 1, 2006

From 1998 to 2000, researchers at the New Hampshire-Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center under the direction of Stephen J. Bartels, MD, MS, tested the Outcomes-Based Treatment Plan.

The plan is a guided assessment and treatment planning toolkit designed to be used by nonphysician clinicians in community mental health and home care settings to improve the care of older people with mental disorders.

Researchers tested the Outcomes-Based Treatment Plan by comparing results for older adults with whom the plan was used (the intervention group) to those who received usual care (the comparison group).

Forty-four clinicians and 100 clients from 13 sites in New England participated in the study. The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Home Care Research Initiative national program.

Key Findings

  • Researchers found that at baseline, routine evaluation and treatment planning practices lacked attention to key domains such as substance abuse, suicide risk or dangerous behaviors and caregiver burden or risk of neglect or abuse.

  • The use of the Outcomes-Based Treatment Plan was associated with a significant increase in the assessment of symptoms, functioning, supports and safety. On average, clinicians using the toolkit systematically assessed more than 90 percent of the symptom and functioning domains and more than 75 percent of the support/safety domains.

  • The use of the Outcomes-Based Treatment Plan was associated with increased specificity  in the treatment planning process.

Key Results

  • The researchers helped the State of New Hampshire implement a modified form of the Outcomes-Based Treatment Plan in all mental health centers statewide.