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BACKGROUND: The relationship between continuity of care and user characteristics or outcomes has rarely been explored. The ECHO study operationalized and tested a multi-axial definition of continuity of care, producing a seven-factor model used here. AIMS: To assess the relationship between user characteristics and established components of continuity of care, and the impact of continuity on clinical and social functioning. METHODS: The sample comprised 180 community mental health team users with psychotic disorders who were interviewed at three annual time-points, to assess their experiences of continuity of care and clinical and social functioning. Scores on seven continuity factors were tested for association with user-level variables. RESULTS: Improvement in quality of life was associated with better Experience & Relationship continuity scores (better user-rated continuity and therapeutic relationship) and with lower Meeting Needs continuity factor scores. Higher Meeting Needs scores were associated with a decrease in symptoms. CONCLUSION: Continuity is a dynamic process, influenced significantly by care structures and organizational change.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Soc Psychiatry

Publication Date





5 - 17


Adult, Community Health Services, Continuity of Patient Care, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Hospitalization, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Outcome and Process Assessment (Health Care), Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Psychotic Disorders, Quality of Life, Social Adjustment