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Psychiatr Serv. 2007 Jun;58(6):802-9.

Adding consumer-providers to intensive case management: does it improve outcome?

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Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Elmhurst Hospital Center, Rm. H3-48, 79-01 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373, USA.



Over the past decade, there has been increasing interest in the employment of mental health consumers in various roles as providers of services. Although integration of consumers into case management services has been studied, the roles of consumers have been poorly defined and the benefits have not been established. The goal of this study was to evaluate whether consumers enhance case management outcome through the provision of social support.


This study compared consumer-assisted and non-consumer-assisted case management with standard clinic-based care. The consumer role focused on the development of social support by using peer staff who matched the profile of participants. A total of 203 clients with severe and persistent mental illness were randomly assigned to one of the three conditions and followed for 12 months.


All three programs yielded the same general pattern of improvement over time for symptoms, health care satisfaction, and quality of life. Clients in the three programs also showed similar but small changes in measures of social network behavior. Consumer-assisted case management was unique in its use of peer-organized activities. Non-consumer-assisted case management made greater use of individual contacts with professional staff. Standard clinic-based care relied more on group and on individual therapy. Despite these variations in the pattern of services over a 12-month period, no one program emerged as categorically superior to the others.


Although more research is needed to determine optimal roles for consumers in mental health service delivery, a randomized trial found no evidence that the presence of consumers enhances case management outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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