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Community mental health nurses, caseloads, and practices : a literature review
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Brenda Happell, W Hoey, Cadeyrn GaskinCadeyrn Gaskin
Deinstitutionalization, and more recently, earlier discharges from psychiatric inpatient units, have created and intensified the need for case management in community mental health. Nurses have been at the forefront of providing this case management. This literature review provides a synthesis of research and policy on the contribution of mental health nurses to community case management. The focus of this review is on the proportion of case management that mental health nurses undertake, the caseloads of case managers, and the interventions that mental health nurses most frequently perform inthe community. The professional compositions of mental health case management workforces have been associated with economic imperatives, professional priorities, and the choice of case management models. The influence of mental health nurses in the case management workforce is particularly strong in the UK and Australia, but less so in the USA where social workers and people without mental health qualifications perform similar roles. Although heavy caseloads seem to be common among case managers, the research in this area is quite weak. The interventions that mental health nurses perform most often include case management (e.g. coordinating care), counselling, and medication management. Caring for the physical health of consumers might often be overlooked.