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Unicorn pets: The importance of personalisation and collaboration in crisis planning

Martin Webber, in his blog Musings of a Social Work Academic, discusses how personalising care plans and collaboration are important in crisis planning in early intervention in psychosis teams.

01/06/21

Unicorn pets: The importance of personalisation and collaboration in crisis planning

Practitioners working in early intervention in psychosis teams have confirmed the importance of collaboration in crisis planning, a new study has found.

Nikki Lonsdale used a survey and semi-structured interviews to explore practitioners’ perspectives on crisis planning in early intervention in psychosis services in a study recently published in ‘Health and Social Care in the Community’.

She aimed to explore what mental health practitioners considered important when facilitating crisis planning and how crisis plans could be improved within early intervention in psychosis services.

Survey findings from 70 practitioners found high support for many of the items of a Joint Crisis Plan (a standard template evaluated in previous research). As one would imagine, these included early warning signs, triggers and helpful treatments.

Free text responses highlighted the importance of including contact details and collaboration in the process.

Twelve semi-structured interviews with practitioners in early intervention teams largely confirmed the survey findings. However, practitioners highlighted the importance of self-management and personalising crisis plans to ensure an individual’s needs and circumstances are accounted for.

“I think it’s important that we sort of include that wider definition of family cos it’s no longer nuclear family, mum dad two kids and a dog, its life partner, unicorn pet and whatever other random definition,” one participant said.

In addition, this study found that crisis planning can have numerous functions including psychoeducation, relationship building and support for families.

The practitioners also identified barriers to effective crisis planning, such as the electronic records system, lack of time and lack of available service provision.

These findings are limited by the small samples and that this study was only of practitioners’ perspectives. However, it provides an indication as to how the crisis planning process could be improved to help ensure people receive the support they require when they need it.

Nikki completed this study as part of her MA Social Work Practice (Think Ahead). The full text of our paper is available here: Lonsdale, N. & Webber, M (2021) Practitioner opinions of crisis plans within early intervention in psychosis services: A mixed methods study. Health and Social Care in the Community. DOI: 10.1111/hsc.13308

Read the study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hsc.13308

With thanks to Nikki for the title of the blog. Nikki wanted to include ‘unicorn pets’ in the title of the paper, but the reviewers had other ideas. This is a little homage to her work.

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Martin Webber is Professor of Social Work at Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York, working to enhance the evidence base for mental health social work.

Read Martin’s blog ‘Musings of a Social Work Academic’: https://martinwebber.net/

Listen to Martin’s new Social Work Research podcast: https://martinwebber.net/socialworkresearchpodcast

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