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Characterization of multilevel influences of mental health care transitions: a comparative case study analysis.

Dickson KS, Sklar M, Chen SZ, Kim B. Characterization of multilevel influences of mental health care transitions: a comparative case study analysis. BMC health services research. 2022 Apr 2; 22(1):437.

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PURPOSE: Mental health care transitions are increasingly prioritized given their potential to optimize care delivery and patient outcomes, especially those focused on the transition from inpatient to outpatient mental health care. However, limited efforts to date characterize such mental health transition practices, especially those spanning multiple service setting contexts. Examination of key influences of inpatient to outpatient mental health care transitions across care contexts is needed to inform ongoing and future efforts to improve mental health care transitions. The current work aims to characterize multilevel influences of mental health care transitions across three United States-based mental health system contexts. METHODS: A comparative multiple case study design was used to characterize transition practices within the literature examining children''s, non-VA adult, and VA adult service contexts. Andersen''s (1995) Behavioral Health Service Use Model was applied to identify and characterize relevant distinct and common domains of focus in care transitions across systems. RESULTS: Several key influences to mental health care transitions were identified spanning the environmental, individual, and health behavior domains, including: community capacity or availability, cross-system or agency collaboration, provider training and experience related to mental health care transitions, client care experience and expectations, and client clinical characteristics or complexity. CONCLUSIONS: Synthesis illustrated several common factors across system contexts as well as unique factors for further consideration. Our findings inform key considerations and recommendations for ongoing and future efforts aiming to plan, expand, and better support mental health care transitions. These include timely information sharing, enhanced care coordination and cross setting and provider communication, continued provider/client education, and appropriate tailoring of services to improve mental health care transitions.

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