Assertive Community Treatment for People with Severe Mental Disorders (Review)
Background: Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) was developed in the early 1970s as a response to the closing down of psychiatric hospitals. ACT is a team-based approach aiming at keeping ill people in contact with services, reducing hospital admissions and improving outcome, especially social functioning and quality of life.
Objectives: To determine the effectiveness of Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) as an alternative to i. standard community care, ii. traditional hospital-based rehabilitation, and iii. case management. For each of the three comparisons the main outcome indices were i. remaining in contact with the psychiatric services, ii. extent of psychiatric hospital admissions, iii. clinical and social outcome and iv. costs
Main results: ACT versus standard community care Those receiving ACT were more likely to remain in contact with services than people receiving standard community care (OR 0.51, 99%CI 0.37-0.70). People allocated to ACT were less likely to be admitted to hospital than those receiving standard community care (OR 0.59, 99%CI 0.41-0.85) and spent less time in hospital. In terms of clinical and social outcome, significant and robust differences between ACT and standard community care were found on i. accommodation status, ii. employment and iii. patient satisfaction. There were no differences between ACT and control treatments on mental state or social functioning. ACT invariably reduced the cost of hospital care, but did not have a clear cut advantage over standard care when other costs were taken into account.
ACT versus hospital-based rehabilitation services: Those receiving ACT were no more likely to remain in contact with services than those receiving hospital-based rehabilitation, but confidence intervals for the odds ratio were wide. People getting ACT were significantly less likely to be admitted to hospital than those receiving hospital-based rehabilitation (OR 0.2, 99%CI 0.09-0.46) and spent less time in hospital. Those allocated to ACT were significantly more likely to be living independently (OR (for not living independently) 0.19, 99%CI 0.06-0.54), but there were no other significant and robust differences in clinical or social outcome. There was insufficient data on costs to permit comparison.
ACT versus case management: There were no data on numbers remaining in contact with the psychiatric services or on numbers admitted to hospital. People allocated to ACT consistently spent fewer days in hospital than those given case management. There was insufficient data to permit robust comparisons of clinical or social outcome. The cost of hospital care was consistently less for those allocated to ACT, but ACT did not have a clear cut advantage over case management when other costs were taken into account. (Authors)
Type of Resource: