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What is the role of families?

  • Family is defined as anyone committed to the care and support of the person with mental illness, regardless of whether they are related or live in the same household.

  • Families help create an optimal home and social environment for the individual with mental illness, as a key aspect of recovery. With consumers consent, families participate in the treatment teams decision-making processes about the individuals case, living situation, and recovery while being guided by the individual consumers wishes and perspective.

Are there cost savings with family psychoeducation?

Implementing a family psychoeducation program has initial costs related to training and organizational operations and procedures. In experimental studies the cost-benefit ratios of family psychoeducation are impressive. In a statewide study in New York, for every $1 in costs for FPE in multi-family groups, there was a $34 savings in hospital costs during the second year of treatment. In a typical hospital in Maine, there was an average net savings of $4,300 per consumer per year over two years. The minimum reduction in hospitalizations has been about 50%, with some studies achieving up to 75% reductions over time. There is, however, variability in the costs and cost savings by different authorities in different states.

Non-fiscal savings are achieved as complaints from families about services decrease and family support for the agency and the PMHA grows. In many communities this has translated into political support for funding for expanded and improved services.

How can family psychoeducation be funded?

Funding mechanisms may vary from agency to agency and state to state. For the most part, funds are used from the state Division of Mental Health and Medicaid. State leaders from the agencies work out a mechanism on how to pool monies that can be used to reimburse the services of family psychoeducation programs. In some cases Medicaid rules and codes have been rewritten to allow reimbursement for family psychoeducation. One state has adopted a case-rate approach, which fits well with implementation and promotes use of the modality. In this instance, the provider agency is reimbursed on a monthly basis for each consumer to cover bundled direct and indirect costs.

What training materials are available regarding family psychoeducation?

An implementation resource kit for family psychoeducation has been developed. Training components include: information sheets, introductory and training videos, workbooks, outcome and fidelity measures, and website supports. The materials have been developed for the major stakeholders, including consumers, families and supporters, practitioners and clinical supervisors, mental health program leaders, and public mental health authorities.

Family psychoeducation training is available from selected training institutes. Implementation should include, but is not limited to:

  • Orientation programs for building understanding and consensus about family psychoeducation.

  • Introduction to using the materials and learning the program philosophy and interventions.

Family Psychoeducation Toolkit

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