12 October 2023

Transforming Dual Diagnosis Care: Fostering Collaboration for Improved Service User Experience

By Chloe Preston, Improvement Advisor

In this 5-minute read, learn how CMHTs in Luton are working collaboratively with external organisations to improve the care of dual-diagnosis service users.

There is a growing recognition of the profound challenges faced by individuals coping with both mental health issues and substance misuse. These individuals often endure some of the most severe health, well-being, and social consequences, rendering them among the most vulnerable members of our society. Within Luton Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs), in collaboration with ResoLUTiONs and Total Wellbeing Luton, an urgent need has been identified to enhance the synergy between mental health and addiction services. The project team includes staff from all services, as well as Big I involvement of a service user with dual diagnosis and a carer of a person with dual diagnosis.

The primary objective of this project is to ensure that individuals with coexisting mental health challenges and alcohol or drug misuse receive tailored, joined up interventions that are compassionate, can simultaneously address mental health and alcohol or drug use, and are delivered by trained staff. The team’s aim is to increase the percentage of jointly worked cases of all mutual clients, and ultimately increase service user’s experience of care.

So far, the team have been working hard to understanding the problem related to barriers to joint working and appreciating how they will know they are making an improvement through measurement. This month, the team invited key workers and care co-ordinators to an in-person meeting, in order to develop their operational definition of a jointly worked case and determine the project’s next steps. All agreed that before any process or pathway changes can be made, we needed to ‘get the basics right’. Consequently, the team are now focused on establishing clear communication pathways between all organisations, as well as sharing concise referral criteria. The latter will include in-person training sessions between organisations.

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