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Forty-five years later: the challenge of optimizing assertive community treatment.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Assertive Community Treatment is an established evidenced based practice that provides intensive community treatment for individuals with severe mental illness with recurrent hospitalizations and/or homelessness. Emerging evidence indicates limitations in its implementation in terms of to the original ACT model and its current relevance.

RECENT FINDINGS: Findings from recent studies (2018-2020) reveals challenges with implementation centered around basic implementation activities, such as changes in the psychosocial context of individuals with SMI, clinicians' abilities to demonstrate competencies with new practices, and ongoing evolution of mental health systems of care worldwide. Intermediary and purveyor organizations (IPO) can provide the infrastructure to support the spread of EBPs while addressing challenges and opportunities. Thus, implementation of ACT can be accomplished when employing a rigorous framework and infrastructure that can synthesize and translate science relevant for practice.

SUMMARY: The relevance of ACT depends on its implementation that is responsive to change. An implementation science-informed approach is key to providing ACT to individuals in the critical space between the hospital and community. With this approach, we can optimize ACT as a service delivery vehicle by careful analysis of how best to furnish and evaluate the latest, most effective and efficient treatments, rehabilitation and support services.

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