Peer supported Open Dialogue research project

Date added: 21 March 2022

Staff from KMPT were the first to conduct a research study to evaluate the implementation of a new Peer supported Open Dialogue (POD) approach in a large NHS mental health trust.

What is Open Dialogue?
Open Dialogue is an approach to mental health care that emphasises the importance of social network support, generating dialogue about the mental health crisis and involving the service user in all decisions regarding treatment. The aim of Open Dialogue is to actively listen and respond, generating dialogue between the service user, their social network (usually family members) and members of the clinical team.

What is Peer Support?
Peer support is when somebody with lived experience is then trained to share their knowledge and experience to support those going through a similar situation. In the KMPT POD service, peer support workers were employed members of the clinical team who provided a unique contribution to service users by utilising their lived experience to build trust and engage people in their treatment.

What did our study want to achieve?
We wanted to evaluate the implementation of a POD service in KMPT by looking at changes in wellbeing and experience in those who used the service over a period of six months.

What did our participants do as part of the study?
We recruited fifty service users and their family/social networks who received care from our POD team to take part in a series of questionnaires at three time points (before staring the intervention, three months after, and six months after) to measure service user wellbeing and experience, and carer wellbeing and support. Clinical data around the health and social functioning of service users was also gathered from clinicians, and these were analysed together to see if the service users and their family/social networks wellbeing and experience changed during the course of the study.

What were the results?
The study indicated that Peer supported Open Dialogue was a clinically effective service. Service users and clinicians reported improvements in service user wellbeing and carers reported greater satisfaction in terms of the support received.

What next?
Following this work, we were involved in a larger national clinical trial being led by University College London. This study is hoping to understand if Open Dialogue can be implemented nationally, by exploring whether Open Dialogue is more cost-effective than current care, and how Open Dialogue can impact service user recovery, quality of life and experiences of shared decision making.

You can read more about the project here