Article Text

O3 Happy families: simulation training to support family and carer involvement in mental healthcare
  1. G Billon1,
  2. C Attoe1,
  3. M Lavelle2
  1. 1Maudsley Simulation, UK
  2. 2King’s College London, UK


Background The importance of carer and family involvement in healthcare in unquestionable, no less so in the field of mental health (Francis Report 2013,1 NHS England 2014c, HM Government’s Carers Strategy). Frameworks for this method of working are outlined in models such as the “Triangle of Care”. However, evidence suggests that healthcare professionals canhold negative beliefs about working with families and carers (Kim and Salyers,2). Simulation training has been suggested as an educational tool through which to address this issue (Kim et al,3 2016; DeCaporale-Ryan et al, 2016). This study aims to evaluate the clinical impact of simulation training on the involvement of families and carers in mental healthcare, using a qualitative methodology.

Methods Training was interprofessionally designed, delivered, and received, with 6 scenarios using trained actors and AV technology, each followed by a debrief using training facilitators and the Diamond Debrief Model (Jaye et al, 2014).

In contrast to the wealth of quantitative pre and post course assessments in the literature, and in keeping with the training’s systemic ethos, a qualitative methodology was utilised. Participants (n = 10) were invited to take part in individual 1-hour semi-structure interviews. The interview schedule was designed by researchers and clinicians to capture rich data addressing the research question. Resultant data underwent thematic analysis; involving familiarisation with the data, coding, identification of themes, and assimilation of the researchers efforts (Green and Thorogood, 2004).

Findings Full thematic analyses have not been completed at the time of writing, although preliminary findings are available. These suggest an impact to clinical practice following the course, relating to carer focused interventions, attitudes towards carer and family involvement, and the structure of family assessments. Full findings will be presented at ASPiH 2016.


  1. Jaye P, Thomas L, Reedy G. ’The Diamond‘: a structure for simulation debrief. Clin Teach. 2015;12:171–5.

  2. Kim HW, Salyers MP. Attitudes and perceived barriers to working with families of persons with severe mental health problems: Mental health professionals‘ perspectives. Community Ment Health J. 2008;44:337–45.

  3. Kaas MJ, Lee S, Peitzman C. Barriers to collaboration between mental health professionals and families in the care of persons with serious mental health problems. Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2003;24:741–56.

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