For people with chronic mental illness, their support system (including direct support staff at group homes) play a key role in ameliorating exacerbations leading to crisis care. However, little information exists on curriculum or training programs focused on reducing exacerbations while promoting compassionate care. We developed, implemented and evaluated such a program that featured role-playing and animated videos supplemented with limited didactics. During development phase, direct support staff reviewed videos and rated them as depicting realistic situations with high acceptability. During implementation, the 6-week course (at least one staff from six different group homes not involved in the development phase) using a 3-month pre-post design found reductions in total number of incident reports and pre-specified outcomes of recipient right complaints, emergency calls, and psychiatric hospitalizations. The program demonstrated acceptability, improved care and better outcomes on some but not all outcomes. Improved training of direct support staff is possible and has positive outcomes.

Alireza Amirsadri, Albert Pizzuti, Daicia Smith, Danielle Duckett, Cynthia L. Arfken
Community Mental Health Journal, January 2018