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In the past,
people experiencing an acute episode of mental
illness were admitted to acute inpatient wards to receive
This is necessary in some
cases, but in others the person with the illness, their
families or carers may feel that they would rather be
supported at home.
If treated in the community, any social stressors which might have
contributed to the episode of acute mental illness are more
apparent than they would be if the person is removed from
their social environment to a hospital.
Without addressing social stressors, the person may return from
hospital to the same situation and relapse.
Treatment at home enables a more holistic approach to the person's
health and their social support systems, and avoids some
of the stigma which may come from admission to an acute
The introduction of Home Treatment services was one of the key
elements in the 1999 National Service Framework for mental health;
the NHS Plan (2000) made the provision of home
treatment services a national priority; and the Department of
Health’s 2002 Public Service Agreement included targets both for
the number of teams and the number of people treated.
The primary functions of these teams are to:
The Royal College of
Psychiatrists Centre for Quality Improvement already hosts numerous
other successful accreditation programmes for mental health
services, and was approached by the Royal
College of Psychiatrists General and Community Psychiatry
Faculty to set up an accreditation scheme for home treatment
It is designed to complement
the Accreditation for Inpatient Mental
Health Services (AIMS).
Implementation of teams was overseen by the
National Institute for Mental Health England (NIMHE) and, latterly,
the National Mental Health Development Unit (NMHDU). Since NMHDU
ceased to exist, monitoring and ongoing development has been seen
as the remit of local services. HTAS aims to provide
quality monitoring and improvement as a nationwide
scheme, allowing sharing of knowledge between home
treatment teams across the UK.
Information gathered through the accreditation
process can be used in Trust quality accounts, as
recommended by the National Quality Board.
HTAS, 21 Prescot
Street, London, E1 8BB
Tel: 020 3701 2653 Fax: 020 3701 2761
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