Essential elements of an early intervention service for psychosis: the opinions of expert clinicians

Marshall, Max; Lockwood, Austin; Lewis, Shôn; Fiander, Matthew
January 2004
BMC Psychiatry;2004, Vol. 4, p17
Academic Journal
Background: Early intervention teams attempt to improve outcome in schizophrenia through earlier detection and the provision of phase-specific treatments. Whilst the number of early intervention teams is growing, there is a lack of clarity over their essential structural and functional elements. Methods: A 'Delphi' exercise was carried out to identify how far there was consensus on the essential elements of early intervention teams in a group of 21 UK expert clinicians. Using published guidelines, an initial list was constructed containing 151 elements from ten categories of team structure and function. Results: Overall there was expert consensus on the importance of 136 (90%) of these elements. Of the items on which there was consensus, 106 (70.2%) were rated essential, meaning that in their absence the functioning of the team would be severely impaired. Conclusion: This degree of consensus over essential elements suggests that it is reasonable to define a model for UK early intervention teams, from which a measure of fidelity could be derived.


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