UBC Fraser Health Psychiatry

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Collaborative Care

UBC Training Objectives – Collaborative Care (in development)

Collaborative / Shared Care – Multiple Sites

  • Collaborative / shared mental health care is a service strategy that focuses on moving early identification and intervention and more recently, chronic disease management, upstream to the primary care level by providing direct specialized mental health services at family physicians’ practices. This service focuses principally on patients with depression and anxiety disorder diagnoses as they are the most commonly seen at the primary care level, although no diagnostic categories are excluded. The principle feature of the collaborative mental health care model is the inter-disciplinary team of mental health specialists lead by a psychiatrist as the mental health team leader and a family physician as the overall case manager. This team conducts their clinical work on site at family physician practices via a collaborative arrangement. Successful implementation at each site requires both FH team members and family physicians to agree to changes in their traditional practices and to work in close collaboration for the benefit of patients. In this model, family physicians retain the central role in managing the care process and participate directly in decisions throughout the involvement of the interdisciplinary team.
  • Collaborative mental health care enhances continuity of care, enhances the ability of family physicians to manage patients with chronic mental illness with the support of collaborative mental health teams, improves access to Mental Health & Addictions (MH&A) services by expanding the range of referral pathways, improves MH&A outcomes by reducing the necessity for contact with the acute care system, and addresses current system gaps in service and by so doing, improves the quality of care for the FH population. MH&A collaborative mental health care psychiatrists and clinicians also support the training of family physicians via their participation in the Practice Support Program.
  • Fraser Health’s Collaborative / Shared Care program was one of the first operational collaborative mental health care networks anchored by family physicians in British Columbia. It was initiated in 2001 with just 3 family physicians’ practices. Today, there are 13 sites in 7 communities at which access to specialized mental health services are provided to adult clients. Over the next two years, the program will be expanding into more communities as the province’s Integrated Health Network (IHN) initiative progresses.