Case management and assertive community treatment in Europe.
Burns T., Fioritti A., Holloway F., Malm U., Rössler W.
OBJECTIVE: Case management studies from Europe and the United States continue to yield conflicting results. At a symposium at the World Psychiatric Conference in Hamburg in 1999, researchers from four European countries explored the possible reasons for differences in outcome. They also examined reasons for the differing foci of case management studies across the different cultures. The authors summarize the symposium's findings. METHODS: Individual case presentations were given of studies and services from the United Kingdom (three studies), Sweden (two studies), Germany, and Italy (one each). Outcomes, methodologies, and national service context were examined. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: A significant influence of national culture is evident both in the acceptability of case management and in approaches to researching it. Case management is perceived as an "Anglophone import" in Italy but is now national policy for persons with severe mental illness in the other three countries. Studies from the United Kingdom emphasized methodological rigor, with little attention to treatment content, whereas those from Sweden accepted a less disruptive research approach but with a more prescriptive stipulation of treatment content. Studies from Italy and Germany emphasized the importance of differing descriptive methodologies. Marked differences in the range of social care provision were noted across Europe. Overall, European researchers are less concerned than U.S. researchers with studying the impact of case management on hospital use.