Acute day units as crisis alternatives to residential care


What is this research?

The research is a 3 year study funded by the NIHR, and led by researchers at UCL, to explore how acute day units – previously known as day hospitals – contribute to crisis care support for people with mental health problems. It is a national study with several elements including a survey to identify all acute day units in England, a case study of acute day unit use in six areas using both quantitative assessment measures exploring outcomes over a 8-12 week period and qualitative interviews, economic analysis of cost effectiveness, and an analysis of England-wide routinely collected data on crisis care including acute day unit use.


Why is it important?

Our provision of crisis support for people with mental health problems is under continual review and we need to search for better models of care and route practices. This project is part of a programme of research exploring mental health crisis support.


What are we doing?

We were asked to join the study for two reasons. Firstly, to ensure we had patient a public involvement throughout. We worked with two service users to shape the content of the proposal and formed a small Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP). Secondly to support the study peer researcher, recruited to work on the programme directly drawing on their expertise from experience as someone with mental health problems and academic training as a researcher. The combined experiential and academic expertise of the peer researcher post, was supported by recruiting a second peer researcher on a sessional basis through McPin.


What is the current status of the project?

This project started July 2016 and ends June 2019. It has completed the national survey work and all case study sites are recruited. Data collection in the six sites is ongoing.


Who do I contact for more information?

More information can be found on the main UCL study website

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