Making it happen building psychoeducation program
of a family
There is likely to be some apprehension among the organizations personnel about the new programs clinical value, its potential for increased workload for the staff, the need for training that the organization cannot afford, or changes to administrative procedures. The following tips should alleviate some of these concerns and help the mental health program leader be successful:
Make one person responsible
Implementation of a family psychoeducation program has the greatest chance of success when a sole individual is responsible for leading the change. Success is more likely when that person is the clinical leader for the organization and when the senior administrators are aware and support the programmatic change. In particular, the agency’s on-line staff must understand the conceptual framework of the program, be trained in its methodology, see its clinical value, and buy into their new role in the program. In many clinical settings, the leader will need to overcome barriers to implementation. The leader may need to advocate for funding, rally support of the executive director and other key leaders, or bring in consultants/trainers when needed.
Identify and deal with the possible barriers to implementation
When people are made aware of anticipated barriers, they seem to become more energized to overcome those barriers. When these concerns are addressed directly by the leadership they usually dissipate without much cost of time or money. Some of the commonly voiced concerns about family psychoeducation are:
There will be an increase in workload. Studies have shown that over the first year the total workload for a given group of consumers will either be the same as or less than for standard individual therapy and/or case management.
Staff has no experience working with families of consumers. Nearly every practitioner who has adopted this approach and followed the suggested methods has succeeded in achieving the same results as in clinical trials.
Consumers do not want their families involved with their treatment. There are suggested methods for involving consumers in making decisions about including family members in treatment. Once they understand what is involved and how they will benefit, it is extremely rare that a consumer will not give consent and participate.
There is no time to learn a new treatment model, regardless of what the research outcomes indicate. The first implementation will require extra time and effort, but it will be compensated by fewer crises, improved outcomes, and a much greater sense of accomplishment and gratification in ones work.
It is difficult to find a colleague to co-lead groups. It is much more important to include families in the ongoing clinical and recovery work, so start on a single-family basis with a small number of cases and allow colleagues to see the results.
Agency administration will not reduce or rearrange caseloads of staff. It will be the job of the program leader to allow for 34 months of reduced case load or relief from intake to set up family psychoeducational services, especially in a multi-family group. It will balance out quickly in improved clinical efficiency.
It costs too much. The organizations leadership will need to ensure that reimbursement covers the slightly greater initial costs, if the program is to be maintained and achieve its potential cost savings.
Family Psychoeducation Toolkit