Open Dialogue - open for referrals

Date: 01 February 2017

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) are pleased to announce the launch of their new Peer Supported Open Dialogue Team which went live on Wednesday 1 February 2017.

Open Dialogue is a mental health treatment model that originated in Finland in the 1980s and has led to results around recovery, return to employment and reduced medication. Key aspects of the approach include: ensuring an immediate response at the point of crisis; the same care professionals being involved throughout the care; family inclusive network meetings; all clinical discussions being undertaken in the presence of the family; and all decisions being co-created by the client, their support system and the clinicians to strengthen recovery.

KMPT have develop a Peer-supported Open Dialogue (POD) Service which is an adaptation of the original approach. It involves paid support workers with lived experience becoming part of the network meetings. Anticipated outcomes include reduced hospital admissions and lengths of stay, increased wellbeing for clients and families, increased user satisfaction and high staff satisfaction.

Executive Medical Director, Dr Catherine Kinane said: “I’m very proud to bring this innovation to service users and carers of our services. I believe it’s a real step forward in mental healthcare and with the robust research programme wrapped around the delivery of care, I hope to be able to demonstrate this in the years to come.”

Clinical Lead, Dr James Osborne added: “It has been a huge achievement to bring about a stand-alone Open Dialogue service into the NHS, which adheres so closely to the Finnish model. This has required a great deal of hard work over the last three years by a range of dedicated staff and Executive level support in order to transform pathways and ensure continuity and flexibility of care.”

Some families have already spoken about their experiences of receiving this new model of care in Kent - of a dialogic network meeting, one service user commented , “The session was powerful and helpful…the conversations (dialogue) were very therapeutic and made me feel stronger and healthier”. While a sister of another service user explained how “the room filled with the most unbelievable energy…..and we felt able to share thoughts and feelings never spoken about before.”

Yasmin Ishaq, Open Dialogue Project Lead said: “The Peer Supported Open Dialogue Service aims to work with the ‘assets’ and ‘strengths’ of individuals and their support networks to bring about change. Experiences are normalised in the context of stressful life events and thus become understood in a qualitatively different way. At KMPT we are proud to be the first service in England to become an operational team delivering Peer Supported Open Dialogue and hope to lead the way with this exciting new initiative.”

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