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Staff experiences of the REFOCUS intervention to support recovery in mental health: A qualitative study nested within a cluster randomized controlled trial

Published on: 27th April, 2020

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8587364156

Background: The REFOCUS intervention was a whole team, complex intervention, designed to increase the recovery support offered by community based, mental health staff. The intervention consisted of two components: Recovery promoting relationships, which focused on how staff work with service users, and Recovery working practices, which focused on what activities and tasks staff and service users could do together. Aim: We aimed to investigate the experiences of community mental health workers using the REFOCUS intervention to support personal recovery. Method: In the context of the REFOCUS Trial (ISRCTN02507940), 28 semi-structured individual interviews and 4 staff focus groups, with 24 participants were conducted and thematically analyzed. Results: Staff valued coaching training and used coaching skills to have tough as well as empowering, motivational conversations with service users. They were positive about the resources within the ‘working practices’ intervention component. The whole team training and reflection sessions helped create team cultures, structures and processes which were conducive to supporting recovery practice. Conclusion: We recommend the wider use of coaching skills, strengths-based assessments, and approaches to support clinicians to broaden their understanding of service users’ values, treatment preferences and to support striving towards personally-meaningful goals. Staff who used these working practices changed their beliefs about what their service users were capable of, and became more hopeful practitioners. A team-based approach to support recovery creates a learning environment in which staff can support and challenge one another, making sustained practice change more likely.
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