Improving safety and quality in mental healthcare
To date, patient safety research has primarily focused on physical healthcare settings, with the existing literature comprising limited exploration of the nature and scale of safety problems faced by mental health service users.
A small, yet accumulating body of work has aimed to investigate what ‘safety’ looks like in the context of acute inpatient mental healthcare, providing useful information about the nature of safety problem service users encounter within these settings.
Nevertheless, though the majority of mental healthcare encounters take place in the community, there is insufficient evidence about the types of safety and quality of care problems service users experience when accessing community-based mental health services. As such, our ability to define, measure and intervene to improve safety in the community are impaired.
This project aims to enhance our understanding of patient safety problems, as experienced by service users accessing community-based mental healthcare provision.
The study will involve a scoping review, which will aim to identify and synthesise existing literature on patient safety in community settings, as well as evidence for interventions to improve safety in this context.
A contextualising study, including in-depth interviews with service users, caregivers and clinicians, and ethnography in community mental healthcare settings will provide further insights into safety and care quality issues.
In a later phase of the project, a small-scale implementation evaluation will be carried out within a community-based mental healthcare setting. This study will test an intervention to improve patient safety, derived from a series of co-production workshops with service users, caregivers and clinicians.