Exploring the contribution of the social work role in CMHTs for working age adults: staff and service user perspectives

Study ID: 37068
Short Title: The contribution of the social work role in CMHTs
Organisation: Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust
Location: Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust
Condition: Mental Health
Main Specialty: Mental Health
Expected End Date: 30/04/2019
Postcode: BH1 4JQ
Contact Name: DHUFT Research & Development
Contact Email: dhc.research&development@nhs.net
Active: Yes

Inclusion Criteria

Service users (WP1):

1. Users of community mental health teams supported by a social worker or other practitioner.

2. Working-age adults CMHT Staff (WP2): 1. Staff working in multidisciplinary working age adult CMHTs

Exclusion Criteria

Service users (WP1) 1. Referred to the service within the past four weeks (at the point of data collection)

2. Seen only in outpatient settings with no other community-based support

3. Without capacity to consent to participate in the research.

4. In a crisis situation

5. Who do not speak/understand English language CMHT Staff (WP2): 1. No staff exclusions

Study summary:

Social workers are key members of multidisciplinary community mental health teams (CMHTs), delivering specialist support to people with severe and enduring mental illness. However CMHT social workers roles lack clear specification. Empirical literature describing their work is largely dated yet legislation and service landscape has changed significantly in recent years. Additionally, surprisingly little research has considered their views or the experiences of service users. The study comprises two work packages (WP1 and WP2). WP1 will explore characteristics of CMHT service users supported by social workers and their care experiences relative to those supported by other practitioners through: a fully anonymised caseload audit of service user characteristics; and a postal survey administered to service users supported by social workers and other practitioners in CMHTs. WP2 seeks to understand the roles, tasks and responsibilities of social workers in CMHTs and to capture the views and experiences of CMHT members, both social workers and other practitioners, regarding these through: a national survey on social work responsibilities, roles and tasks administered to CMHT managers; a postal survey of social workers and other practitioners experiences of working in CMHTs; and a series of focus groups of social workers and non-social workers to elicit views of each-others roles. All five data collection activities will be undertaken in three fieldwork sites. The staff questionnaire will also involve a wider group of trusts who will apply to take part via the CRN portfolio on which the research will be listed as open to new applicants. The national survey will be sent to all Trusts in England. The research is being supported by a Lay Reference Group to ensure that service user and carer perspectives guide the conduct of the research.

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