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Background: Case management in its various forms represents a major innovation in mental health care. Its efficacy remains controversial.

Aims: To update after a decade a previous review article.

Methods: Descriptive literature and controlled trials of case management and its derivative Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) was accessed through four comprehensive and systematic reviews of the literature, repeated Medline and Embase searches and personal contacts.

Results and Conclusions: The concept of case management has continued to evolve over the past decade. No controlled trial has been published exploring the model of the case manager as a service broker without responsibility for the provision of care. Basic case management principles have frequently been incorporated within routine clinical practice. Published controlled trials of ACT, which were almost exclusively carried out in North America, have shown markedly positive results. However caution is required in extrapolating these findings to routine clinical practice within different systems of health and social care. Case management is not in itself an effective treatment for severe mental illness. (Authors)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services