Evaluation of Disability Psychiatric Clinic

Research Team:  
Prof. Patricia O’Brien, Samuel  Arnold, Prof. Vivienne Riches, and Deborah Espiner

CDS was approached by the Developmental Psychiatric (DP) Clinic, Westmead, to conduct a review of the services it delivers. A series of interviews were conducted by the CDS team with members of the DP Clinic team, stakeholders and families who had gained support from it. Interview material was also verified and compared and contrasted with a series of documents and literature relevant to the work of the clinic. A focus group was conducted with ten of the DP Clinic core panel members. The questions asked, in the interviews and focus group, drew upon material from person centred and solution-focused approaches, and the Disability Service Standards.

The DP Clinic was perceived to play a critical role in the provision of a service that families and clinicians could access when there was an impasse within the service system or when there was uncertainty due to the complexity of the presenting issues. The family and professional stakeholders of the DP Clinic confirmed that referral to the clinic as a tertiary service had led to improved outcomes, relieving acute alarm and distress as well as cost cutting, when compared to public emergency services being called upon by families when children and young people were in crisis.

It was recommended that the DP Clinic play a major role in the development of Centres of Excellence across NSW. Where people with complex needs are supported to live valued lives arising from choice and control gained through interaction with the specialist intellectual disability health and mental health services .