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Aust J Rural Health. 2016 Apr;24(2):144-50. doi: 10.1111/ajr.12233. Epub 2015 Aug 27.

Integration in a nurse practitioner-led mental health service in rural Australia.

Author information

1
University Centre for Rural Health, The University of Sydney, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Integration of mental health services is a prominent Australian mental health policy goal; however, there is little detail in the literature of how integrated mental health services are established or function. This study aimed to describe a nurse practitioner-led primary healthcare rural mental health service and evidence of how the service was integrated with other services and the community.

DESIGN:

This pragmatic exploratory study used case study methodology and analysed documents, quantitative data and qualitative data from individual and group semi-structured interviews and a 'stakeholder meeting'. The study was part of a formal evaluation of this nurse practitioner service.

SETTING:

Rural New South Wales.

PARTICIPANTS:

Twenty-one service providers and stakeholders.

INTERVENTIONS:

Introduction of a nurse practitioner led mental health service.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Not applicable.

RESULTS:

Purposely sampled participants were interviewed. Documentary evidence included briefing notes, minutes and progress reports and provided important background information. Non-identifiable aggregated client data were analysed. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data produced a description of how and why the service was established, a description of the service and its impact and three analytic themes providing evidence of integration. Challenges to integrating this service are also discussed.

CONCLUSIONS:

The service was highly regarded. It addressed the drug and alcohol and mental health needs of a vulnerable rural community. The inception and implementation of the service were community driven, led by a number of agencies supported by a steering committee and underpinned by a Partnership Agreement. The service demonstrated key features of integration alongside experiencing challenges in optimising integration with acute mental health services.

KEYWORDS:

mental health service delivery; model of rural health service delivery; nurse practitioner; primary health care; rural service planning

PMID:
26311391
DOI:
10.1111/ajr.12233
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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