A Community-Based Participatory Research Study of “The Living Room:" An Alternative to Hospital Emergency Departments for Persons in Emotional Distress

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Mona Shattell, PhD, RN1
Barbara Harris, PhD, RN1
Stella Karen Tomlinson, MS1
Lauren Prasek, MS1
Josephine Beavers, MS1
Courtney L. Emery, MA, LCPC2
Michelle Heyland, BSN, RN-BC3
(1)School of Nursing, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
(2)Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center, Skokie, IL
(3)The Living Room, Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center, Skokie, IL

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe the treatment environment of a community-based recovery-oriented setting for persons with psychiatric emergencies.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify areas for further research on these treatment environments.

Purpose: Persons with severe mental illness experience episodic crises, which result in frequent visits to hospital emergency departments (EDs). EDs, however, are not always the most effective environments for psychiatric patients who might better be served elsewhere and who might best be cared for from a recovery-oriented framework. The Recovery Model arises from acknowledging the limitations of the medical model and suggests alternative treatments that are not disease-centered, but person-centered. Recovery-oriented alternative crisis intervention programs exist in the US but little research could be found. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study is to describe the lived experience of a community, recovery-oriented crisis intervention program in the Chicagoland area of the US – The Living Room – from the perspective of guests who are in crisis, professional clinical staff members who counsel guests, and trained peer counselors who serve as guest mentors. A collaborative, interdisciplinary, community-academic research team is conducting the study.

Methods: Community-based participatory research methods and an existential phenomenological theoretical/philosophical approach were used for this study. Nondirective, in-depth interviews were conducted with participants who were guests, psychiatric/mental health nurses and counselors, and peer counselors who were asked to describe what stands out to them about The Living Room.  Our total sample is comprised of 19 persons. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and then systematically analyzed using descriptive phenomenological methods of analysis by an interdisciplinary and community-based participatory research team. The findings will be presented as a thematic structure of the experience of The Living Room -- a recovery-oriented alternative crisis intervention treatment environment.

Results: Study in progress.

Conclusion: Findings may raise awareness of ways that recovery-oriented alternative programs assists individuals in crisis, which will contribute to the literature about these programs and may provide information for other alternatives to hospital emergency department visits for persons experiencing emotional distress.