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Abstract

There is a need to better engage service users in improving their experience with the care received in Addiction and Mental Health (A&MH). Dimensions of patient experience that are most salient to A&MH service users still remain to be properly defined from the patient perspective. This research focuses on identifying key domains of service experience important to patients of Addiction and Mental Health using patient focus groups. In addition, through a patient and family advisory committee, patients were also engaged as co-partners of the research team. The patient advisors had a major role in overseeing the research project, assisting with the thematic analysis and identifying the service domains. A total of 48 individuals (60% female; mean age = 45 years) with lived experience using A&MH services participated in the focus groups. The major themes that emerged from the focus groups led to the identification of seven dimensions of service quality: 1) access, 2) humanity of care, 3) skill and quality of staff, 4) patient engagement, 5) internal and external program communication, 6) individualized treatment and 7) continuity of care. We found that these domains were similar across all service settings including addictions. Patient advisors provided a unique “insider” perspective on the data. Identifying common aspects of service is the first phase of this study. These findings will form the framework for the development of a patient experience survey for Addiction and Mental Health.

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