Aims A large proportion of young people with mental health needs present to general hospitals. Recent UK government reports have highlighted the importance of joined up care in these cases, whilst there appears a general lack of confidence in paediatric staff when managing them. We developed an interprofessional simulation (IPS) course with the aims of improving joint working between paediatric and CAMHS staff, and increasing participants’ confidence in managing young people with mental health needs.
Methods A one day course was developed and piloted. 99 participants attended in all. Participants included: paediatric, GP VTS, emergency medicine and psychiatry trainees, paediatric nurses and healthcare assistants and CAMHS professionals. Scenarios were designed according to clinicians’ difficult past experiences with this patient group.
Data was collected from course evaluation forms, pre- and post-course questionnaires exploring participants’ confidence in the assessment and management of such young people, and their attitudes towards their roles and responsibilities in their care, and focus groups.
Results Quantitative data demonstrated a statistically significant increase in participants’ confidence scores from pre (M=59.78, SD=15.37) to post course (M=76.81, SD=11.27), t(54)=-9.46, p,.0005 (n = 62). Additionally, participants’ attitudes score improved, from pre (M=27.65, SD=3.68) to post course (M=30.26, SD=3.33), t(53)=5.33, p,.0005. The eta squared statistic indicated large effect sizes,. 62 and. 35 respectively.
Thematic analysis of the qualitative data generated several themes. In addition to those relating to knowledge, confidence, and attitudes, participants particularly appeared to have enhanced their capabilities in collaborative working. This comprised of: clarification of roles and responsibilities, improved competency in collaborative decision-making and team functioning, and improved appreciation of different professionals’ perspectives.
Conclusion Our findings demonstrate that it is possible to employ IPS to promote collaborative working at the mental-physical interface for the care of young people with both mental and physical health needs. Additionally, participants went away with improved knowledge, confidence and attitudes for working with this demographic. Our hope is that the courses will have a positive impact on patient care and experience for those presenting to general hospitals with mental health needs.
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