An action research study concerning how clinicians formulate treatment choices for people with personality disorder: using hermeneutic and IPA methods.
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractBackground: Personality Disorder treatment is a contentious subject in health care. Despite available research concerning the diagnosis itself and also available treatments, there is little research regarding treatment thresholds or defining how treatment decisions can be formulated. This problem has been identified by clinicians, patients, supervisors and specific organisations, particularly linked to recent healthcare changes associated with austerity measures. Research Question: How can mental health care staff use a formulated decision process concerning therapeutic interventions for people with PD, when considering the recent service changes and rationalisation of available treatments? Methods: An Action Research study has been conducted over a four year period, using predominantly qualitative methods including: a hermeneutic literature review (n=144 papers), patient questionnaires (n=15) and Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) of clinician and supervisor semi-structured interviews (n=10). Results: Difficulties have been found when making decisions with people who either do not accept their diagnosis and/or do not accept the current evidence-based treatments for personality disorder. Other challenges have been identified regarding the patient/clinician relationship, the level of distress the patient presents with, and also the clinician view concerning the individual, the diagnosis, and the available treatments. The IPA produced five super-ordinate themes related to decision-making regarding treatment choices for people with personality disorder, including: difficulties with boundary management, diagnostic stigma, a focus upon time, metacognitive ability, and the potential for iatrogenic harm. Conclusions: Multiple factors require consideration when examining treatment choices for people with a personality disorder, concerning the patient's individual symptom profile, needs, attitude towards treatments; the clinician's profession, attitudes, opinions, and wellness on the day of the assessment, and also the treatments available within the locality. A diagram has been presented summarising these formulation factors. Recommendations have been made based upon the results, analysis, synthesis and discussion sections, indicating potential practice changes and areas for future research.
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