Attitudes regarding the collaborative practice model and treatment adherence among individuals with bipolar disorder

Martha Sajatovic, Marilyn Davies, Mark S Bauer, Linda McBride, Robert W Hays, Roknedin Safavi, Janis Jenkins
Comprehensive Psychiatry 2005, 46 (4): 272-7
An emerging literature suggests that a collaborative care model, in which patients are active managers of their illness within a supportive social environment, is a beneficial approach for individuals with bipolar disorder. One aspect of treatment that is often suboptimal among individuals with bipolar disorder is treatment adherence. Establishing an ideal collaborative model may offer an opportunity to enhance treatment adherence among individuals with bipolar disorder. This paper presents results from a qualitative exploration of patients' attitudes towards the collaborative care model and how individuals with bipolar disorder perceive treatment adherence within the context of the collaborative care model. All participants were actively enrolled in outpatient treatment at a Community Mental Health Center and part of a larger study that evaluated the Life Goals Program, a manual-driven structured group psychotherapy for bipolar disorder that is based on the collaborative practice model. The Life Goals Program is designed to assist individuals to participate more effectively in the management of their bipolar illness and to improve their social and work-related problems. Individuals were queried regarding their opinions on the ingredients for an effective client-provider relationship. Quantitative data were collected on baseline treatment adherence as well. Individuals treated for bipolar disorder in a community mental health clinic identified 12 key elements that they felt were critical ingredients to a positive collaborative experience with their mental health care provider. The authors conceptualized these elements around 3 emerging themes: patient-centered qualities, provider-centered qualities, and interactional qualities. Individuals with bipolar disorder perceived the ideal collaborative model as one in which the individual has specific responsibilities such as coming to appointments and sharing information, whereas the provider likewise has specific responsibilities such as keeping abreast of current "state-of-the-arf" prescribing practices and being a good listener. Treatment adherence was identified as a self-managed responsibility within the larger context of the collaborative model. Individuals with bipolar disorder in this study placed substantial emphasis on the interactional component within the patient-provider relationship, particularly with respect to times when the individual may be more symptomatic and more impaired. It is important that clinicians and care providers gather information related to patients' perceptions of the patient-provider relationship when designing or evaluating services aimed at enhancing treatment adherence.

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