A nationwide service for people with severe obsessive compulsive disorder is improving their care – and future – by treating them closer to home.

Karen Walker

The advanced intervention service provides intensive treatment for people with severe and chronic OCD. Previously, treatment was only available in London, which meant service users in Scotland faced long stays in hospital or a hostel, and long separation from family and friends.

Now the team from the National Services Division of NHS Tayside offers intensive, evidence-based and individualised treatment programmes to clients referred when local mental health teams have exhausted pharmacological and psychological therapy.

Nurse therapists lead intensive two-week assessments covering all aspects of OCD. The individual’s family is part of the process, to help them develop new ways of supporting their relative. The service supports healthcare professionals through consultancy, training and specialist advice.

Karen Walker

‘”Going home”’ with the person at the end of their admission, to work with them and their local team is novel but crucial,’ says senior mental health nurse psychotherapist Karen Walker. ‘The home environment tends to be the epicentre of OCD. Families have a greater understanding of OCD and the key changes needed to support recovery.

‘Local services’ increased knowledge and understanding of treating severe or chronic presentations helps support treatment.

‘Clients are re-engaging in personal and social activities and work because of reduced anxiety and checking behaviour. There have also been improvements in co-morbid mental health problems such as depression.’

The team is a finalist in the mental health category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2016, the profession’s top accolade for nursing excellence.

The award, sponsored by specialist journal Mental Health Practice, recognises innovation that improves the clinical care of service users.

About the sponsor

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Mental Health Practice is the most widely read journal in its field, and the only publication to cover all areas of mental health and patient care. Mental Health Practice provides a wide range of information that will enable you to develop creative and evidence-based approaches to your practice and stay informed about changes in policy and legislation. Subscribers can access a host of online resources including our archive that contains clinical and research articles dating back to 2000 and RCNi Portfolio, a simple and effective tool that helps you build, store and track your evidence for revalidation. Subscribe to the journal here.

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