What Matters for Evaluating the Quality of Mental Healthcare? Identifying Important Aspects in Qualitative Focus Groups with Service Users and Frontline Mental Health Professionals

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6 May 2022

Published journal: Patient

Abstract

Background

Evaluating quality in mental healthcare is essential for ensuring a high-quality experience for service users (SUs). Policy-defined quality indicators, however, risk misalignment with the perspectives of SUs and mental healthcare professionals (MHPs). There is value in exploring how SUs and frontline MHPs think quality should be measured.

Objectives

Our study objectives were to: (1) identify aspects that SUs and MHPs deem important for assessing quality in mental healthcare to help support attribute selection in a subsequent discrete choice experiment and (2) explore similarities and differences between SU and MHPs’ views.

Methods

Semi-structured qualitative focus groups (n = 6) were conducted with SUs (n = 14) and MHPs (n = 8) recruited from a UK National Health Service Trust. A topic guide was generated from a review of UK policy documents and existing data used to measure quality in mental healthcare in England. Transcripts were analysed using a framework analysis.

Results

Twenty-one subthemes were identified, grouped within six themes: accessing mental healthcare; assessing the benefits of care; co-ordinated approach; delivering mental healthcare; individualised care; and role of the person providing care. Themes such as person-centred care, capacity and resources, and receiving the right type of care received more coverage than others. Service users and MHPs displayed high concordance in their views, with minor areas of divergence.

Conclusions

We developed a comprehensive six-theme framework for understanding quality in mental healthcare from the viewpoint of the SU and frontline MHP, which can be used to help inform the selection of a meaningful set of quality indicators in mental health for research and practice.

Citation

Powell, P.A., Rowen, D. What Matters for Evaluating the Quality of Mental Healthcare? Identifying Important Aspects in Qualitative Focus Groups with Service Users and Frontline Mental Health Professionals. Patient (2022).

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