Personalised care planning standard to support community mental health care 

The PRSB has updated its care planning standard to support community mental health care for people with severe mental health conditions to live well in the community.

Commissioned by NHS England and Improvement, the care plan standard will underpin the NHS delivery of more accessible and high-quality care for adults including improving access to psychological therapies, physical healthcare, employment support, and personalised and trauma-informed care. The standard will ensure that the right information about a person and their needs is available in a tailored care plan that can be shared digitally with health and care professionals and individuals themselves wherever and whenever care is needed. People with serious mental health conditions living in the community receive support from a wide range of services, including GPs, nurses, psychiatrists, pharmacists and occupational therapists among others. For them to get the best care possible, it’s important for these services to join up. It’s also necessary for anyone who will be receiving care to have autonomy over their own goals, wishes and preferred outcomes. The care plan standard has an About Me section, which offers space for a person to share what’s most important to them and what they need professionals to know so they can feel a greater sense of control over their care.

The PRSB began the project last year by evaluating what information was needed in a community mental health  care  plan  to improve care from both an individual’s and professionals’ perspectives. We started by analysing the care and support plan standard that the PRSB produced in 2018, to see if it would meet the needs of a community mental health care plan. Our research identified some additional information which may be required, and we held detailed focus groups with people and professionals to determine how and where this needed to be shared in a care plan. We also consulted with mental health service providers and system suppliers to discuss how the care plan could be adopted in their systems and any issues or challenges they might have with implementing it. The final version of the standard is now available here.

“As a patient I know from experience that there is nothing worse than having your clinical information stored in multiple data systems which are not always connected, and it can result in less-than-optimal treatment and outcomes,” said Sarah Markham, one of the patient leads on the project. “A standard for care plans will help to prevent this from happening and will support the digital sharing of care plans for people. It’s crucial to ensuring good quality healthcare, as well as positive patient experiences and outcomes.”

Dr Nilesh Bharakhada, Executive Clinical Director of Health & Care for the PRSB said. “The care plan standard will help to support better partnerships between health and care teams and the people who use services by enabling individuals to feel more actively involved in their own care and support plan.” He added. “By keeping people healthier in the community, we can improve their overall experiences, as well as reducing the number of emergency situations and the need for frequent hospitalisations.”