Te tūhono i ngā manaakitanga, te whakapai ake i ngā whakawhitinga ratonga | Connecting care: improving service transitions is one of the five priority areas of the national mental health and addiction (MHA) quality improvement programme, coordinated by the Health Quality & Safety Commission (the Commission). The programme uses a quality improvement approach to enhance health services, so people receive high-quality care and support.
International evidence shows that good planning before a person is transitioned between, or discharged from, services is critical in providing effective support for people with mental ill health. When done well, transition/discharge planning brings together a person’s health and broader social needs and enables those needs to be met. However, if the system fails in supporting people effectively, there are huge implications for them, their whānau and the health sector and other sectors. ‘Getting it right is an investment with significant payback.’
Poor transitions of care between MHA providers are linked to negative experiences of care for tāngata whaiora and whānau. Additionally, gaps in continuity of information, care planning and timely access to appropriate services were significant issues outlined in the report of the Office of the Auditor-General.
See our July 2018 news article about the project for perspectives from clinical lead Dr Clive Bensemann and mental health consumer Jill.
The Connecting care project began in August 2018 with the aim of improving the quality and experience for tāngata whaiora and whānau during transitions of care between service providers, and to enable better outcomes.
Multidisciplinary project teams were established in each district health board (DHB). Each team chose one of the following transitions areas to focus their improvement work on:
- transitions from DHB adult inpatient specialist services to DHB adult community services
- transitions from DHB community services to primary care
- transitions from DHB youth community services to DHB adult community services.
All project teams completed a six-month co-design phase followed by a nine-month quality improvement phase to test and implement evidence-based interventions designed to improve selected service transitions, supported by monthly videoconference coaching sessions via Zoom.
The project was due to end in December 2019 but was extended by nine months to October 2020 at the request of DHB project teams.
 Office of the Auditor-General. 2017. Mental Health: Effectiveness of the planning to discharge people from hospital. Wellington: Office of the Auditor-General. URL: www.oag.govt.nz/2017/mental-health/docs/mental-health.pdf (accessed 15 February 2022). P 3.