Accessibility

School of Nursing & Human Sciences

Transforming Education & Lived Experience

Courses

Cooperative Learning: Service Improvement Leadership for Mental Health Service Users, Carers & Service Providers

 

Introduction

This course in its 8th year has been developed through an ongoing partnership between, the HSE, National Office for Mental Health Services, the Irish Advocacy Network, and School of Nursing & Human Sciences, Dublin City University; and in association with the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership. The Health Services Executive (HSE) recognises the importance of service user and carer involvement in developing local mental health services and this approach is enshrined in mental health policy A Vision for Change, and encourages their involvement through a partnership ethos. Simply, the purpose of the course is threefold - to bring service users, carers/family members and service providers together in a joint learning environment; for participants to understand the nature and practice of a cooperative approach to leading change in healthcare organisations; and for teams (service user, service provider and carer) to instigate and lead a service improvement in their local mental health service.

The course involves a service user, a carer/family member and a mental health service professional provider from one geographical area signing up to complete the course and implement the service improvement in their local mental health service. Each three person team will join up with about six other teams from around the country. The local mental health service that is sponsoring the team to complete the programme and implement the service improvement will take responsibility for recruiting the three person team. The sponsoring service will also allocate a senior manager to be mentor to the team, ensuring organisational buy in for the programme.

The course in terms of makeup, participation, format and delivery deviates from what might be seen as traditional approaches to practice education in mental health services. The first half of the course involves participants exploring together with course facilitators, the challenges and possibilities for service improvements, through presentation, group work and critical debate. In addition, participants begin to examine models and tools that will aid their projects (service improvement) in the second part of the course.

The second part of the course concentrates on developing the service improvement initiative and the required knowledge and skills to successfully implement it. This is achieved through an examination of international best practice in the form of ‘master classes’, through action learning sets, and skills workshops. Cooperative and participatory approaches to service development have a proven track record and are perfectly commensurable with the aspirations of this course. These approaches form the philosophical basis for the course, as does the necessary form of communication between people and services for such approaches to work, which is through ‘open dialogue’.

Open dialogue is the key  process  underpinning this course and the concurrent service improvement projects, and can be understood as a joint action or transformation between two or more people that joins them together in a temporary mutual world experience. In this way people from different perspectives begin to understand each other’s, and develop common understandings that when put into practice, provides a service improvement with mutual benefits for service users, carer and service providers.

The course has helped to break new ground in mental health services development:  in how services can be visibly improved on behalf of all stakeholders; in how people involved in mental health services embrace education and development; and in how education itself has been made more accessible and ‘real’ to people from all walks of life.

Service Improvement Projects and Processes

To date 51 specific services improvements have been instigated in local mental health services with 16 participating services. The types of project cover a broad range and include: basic physical environmental changes; service needs analysis; changes to decision making processes; new person centred appointment systems; introducing peer support workers; new protocols for practice in housing and discharge planning; mechanisms of moving people beyond the mental health system; support mechanisms for carers; establishment of various support groups and networks’ to name a few.

Some of these projects were very local to one aspect of a service; some were service wide; others county wide and a number have progressed to country wide, e.g. housing needs assessment. Moreover, where same services have been involved in the programme over several years each project often built upon the successes of others. Not all projects came to fruition and some took longer than anticipated, though with the exception of a few participating sites there has been a legacy of service improvement plus the instigation of further innovations growing from initial service improvements and the associated change management processes being in place.

Some of the beneficial off shoots or process outcomes participating sites have been generalised structures, networks and ways of approaching service development that has enhanced the capacity for service user, family members and service providers to design, develop and provide local mental health services. In addition the Mental Health Trialogue Network Ireland www.trialogue.co was developed as an outcome of the ongoing leadership programme.

Service Eligibility Criteria

Any local mental health service can participate in this programme with the only restriction being on a maximum of 8 teams that can participate each year.

  • The service area will sponsor three candidates to undertake the programme which will include one service user, one carer and one health professional
  • Each Management Team should take cognizance that each cohort will be expected to pioneer new approaches and may be required to act as future trainers for subsequent courses or become actively involved in service working groups e.g. Policy Groups, Service Improvement Quality Group etc.
  • Commitment of each participant to complete the course must be obtained as well as commitment from the Senior Management Team to introduce organisational change
  • A nominated lead person from the Senior Management Team will be available to mentor / provide organisational support for the three members;
  • The nominated Mentor will meet with the tripartite team prior to the programme commencement in DCU to ensure that  the group is introduced to each other
  • The mentor will meet with tripartite team at regular scheduled times over the duration of the programme
  • The Mentor will outline and explain expectations to the tripartite team
  • The Mentor will make the tripartite teams aware of the mental health services in their area
  • The Mentor will explain the payment process for participating in the programme and ensure any queries that need to be made to Social Protection are made prior to programme commencement
  • The Mentor will take responsibility for receiving expenses time sheet each month from carer and service user on the team and submitting them to the steering group nominated broker with PCRS who process payment
  • The Mentor will make tripartite team aware of the previous group projects that have been undertaken
  • Each Project Team should identify tangible service initiatives and local structures that are either in operation or will be developed during the course of the programme. This will be essential to harness the learning obtained by course participants to introduce change in service user/ carer involvement as outlined in the policy document “Vision for Change 2006”. Potential service initiatives will be negotiated with management team and viable projects agreed
  • An induction information session will be delivered in October to familiarise the Senior Management Team and prospective course participants with course objectives and overview, course content and the envisaged local supports required to support participants with the demands of the course
  • The academic course fee and accommodation will be provided by HSE centrally but the weekly payment of €120 from October to May  and subsistence, travel costs will need to be funded by the sponsoring service and built into local service planning
  • The recruitment and selection process will be carried out by the local senior management team. Services need to take into consideration the outlined requirements and selection criteria. Please note it is not a specific set of requirements but may be useful guide as course participants will develop skills in these areas as they undertake the programme
  • Course Dates are provided in July each year:
    • Dates for 2015/2016 cohort
      To be confirmed
  • Applicants need to be selected by each service area by the end of August and a provisional reserve list should also be identified
  • In the first instance applications will be a brief Résumé/ CV supported by a letter outlining reasons for application and outlining ideas for a service improvement project
  • Completed applications need to be retained.

Candidate Eligibility Requirement Recruitment Criteria:

Applicants need to:-

  • Have a commitment to service improvement in mental health service delivery
  • Have either personal experience of mental health difficulty that has led them to seek support and/or treatment, have cared for someone who has a mental health difficulty, or is a health and social care professional working in the Mental Health Service
  • Be prepared to give the commitment and meet the demands of the course in conjunction with the inbuilt supports that will be provided by the academic staff and local management teams
  • Be able to work as part of a small group/team (Service User, Carer and Health Professional) from the selected service area and support each other in facilitating the introduction of change with the necessary supports of local senior service management team
  • Be involved in identifying or taking forward a service improvement project, which is either underway or has been agreed with the sponsoring service area
  • Be aware of the workload demands and requirements of an education module, which will extend over a 9 month period and will include an induction day, 6 taught days, 4 Master classes, 4 Action Learning Sets and time to complete a service improvement project (25-30 days)
  • Should have experience of or have been involved with service improvement, training, education or development
  • Be committed to develop others as service improvement leaders within your service area by either contributing to future course provision or by becoming actively involved in services through participation on committees e.g. Policy committees, Service Improvement Quality Group etc.

Costs

  • The academic fees and residential costs are paid for all students
  • Service User and Carer Participants will be paid €120 per week for 36 weeks along with travel and subsistence costs incurred. This funding will be transferred from local service area to PCRS where it will be processed on a monthly basis. In order for payments to be processed in a timely manner a tax credit certificate needs to be submitted to the PCRS on each claimant for each year. Where people have independent income or other paid employment there may be tax implications relating to the €120 weekly payments and it is the responsibility of the participant to explore these with their local revenue office.

Application process

  • If you would like to apply for the course, please read the selection criteria above and arrange to discuss with your local nominated management team sponsor. Send in the application Résumé/CV and covering letter outlining your interest and commitment in undertaking this programme.

This is simply an introduction to the course and hopefully will give you enough information for the moment. If you wish to know any further information before you start, please contact Liam Mac Gabhann Tel: 01 7008805 (leave message with number and I will ring you back) or Email: liam.macgabhann@dcu.ie

Related Publications and Proceedings

 

Video showcase 


Improving Services with Co-operative Learning: Intellectual Disability 

 

Introduction

The vision of this project is  to create a "Legacy Effect"  of benefit not only for the participants but the organisations  or services they represent.  Operationally, this project is about creating meaningfull opportunities for people with intellectual disability, carers and service providers to learn together in a third level setting with an assessment that focuses on effecting service change.

Two modules have been developed to accommodate the range of learning preferences and abilities of this group.  Individual students will register on one or other of the modules; however the modules will run concurrently as one student cohort involving co-operative learning and a team teaching approach.  The modules are as follows:

Option 1 : Improving Services with Co-operative Learning: Intellectual Disability (NS4013 A)

  • Level 8 NFQ 5 credit
  • Formal assessment through continuous assessment methods

 Option 2  Improving Services with Co-operative Learning: Intellectual Disability (NS4013  B)

No NFQ level or credit attached

  • No formal assessment of learning outcomes

General Entry Criteria

Potential module participants are nominated in groups of three (service user, carer, and service staff member) by a service provider who undertakes to support the work of this group in identifying and implementing a service improvement initiative.

It is a requirement for acceptance on this module that each constituent group of three will be assigned a mentor from within their service i.e. the one in which they are implementing the improvement initiative. This mentor must hold a senior managerial grade in the service. The mentor provides additional support to the groups in facilitating the service change and liaises with the module team.

Some points of note for Service providers:

  • Each Management Team should take cognizance that each cohort will be expected to pioneer new approaches and may be required to act as future trainers for subsequent courses or become actively involved in service working groups e.g. Policy Groups, Service Improvement Quality Group etc.
  • Commitment of each participant to complete the course must be obtained as well as commitment from the Management Team to introduce change.
  • Each Project Team should identify tangible service initiatives and local structures that are either in operation or will be developed during the course of the programme. This will be essential to harness the learning obtained by course participants to introduce change in service user/ carer involvement. Potential service initiatives will be negotiated with management team and viable projects agreed.
  • Each mentor will be expected to be a member of the steering group and attend meetings as required.
  • The recruitment process will be initiated by the local management team, followed by individual applications to DCU.
  • Mentors must be identified by each service.
  • Applicants need to be put forward by each service and be supported in making their application.

An induction information session will be delivered to familiarise the Mentor with course objectives and overview, course content and the envisaged local supports required to support participants with the demands of the course. 

Candidate Eligibility Requirement Recruitment Criteria:

Specific Entry criteria for students undertaking Option 1.

  1. Commitment to participating in the module and identifying /engaging in service improvement through co-operative learning
  2. Evidence of critical thinking, literacy, communication/writing skills at level 5 NFQ  (applicants who do not have formal qualifications at level 5 NFQ can apply to have prior learning evaluated using DCU Recognition of Prior Learning policies and processes).
  3. Ability to identify, lead and evaluate service/support improvements
  4. Commitment to helping others to develop as service improvement leaders

Specific Entry criteria for students undertaking Option 2.

  1. Ability to participate in the module and identify /engage in service improvement
  2. Motivation to work as part of a team using a co-operative learning framework
  3. Ability to articulate what they wish to achieve from the course 

Costs

The academic course fee of €500 per student undertaking Option 1 and €350 per student undertaking Option 2 must be paid by the organisation or sponsor on enrolment for the course directly to DCU.

Expenses associated with the programme will be administered in each service. 

Application process

If you would like to apply for the course, please read the selection criteria above and arrange to discuss with your local nominated management team sponsor. Applications for each October  should be submitted by mid-September each year.

All classes will take place usually on Tuesdays in classroom HG05 in the School of Nursing and Human Sciences building, Dublin City University

Contact Deirdre Corby, School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University for application details.

Contact details: deirdre.corby@dcu.ie +353 1 7008524

 

Related Publications and Proceedings

Corby, D., Slevin, E. and Cousins, W. 2013. Improving services through co-operative learning. Learning Disability Practice, 16, 2, pp28-30.

 

Video showcase 

The Principles and Practice of Peer Advocacy in Mental Health

 

Introduction

Within the area of mental health policy, good practice in mental health service provision and in the experience of people with mental health difficulties it has been accepted that the availability of peer advocacy is crucial for anyone recovering from mental problems and/or psychiatric illness. In Ireland mental health policy supports this idea and there is growing evidence that people who have experienced mental health problems are providing advocacy for others with similar experiences. In Southern Ireland this is the first  accredited education or training course specifically developed to help prepare people or enhance their capacity for the role of peer advocate. This course is intended to help prepare people and/or enhance people’s knowledge and skills that are planning to or are already working in these roles.

The course was developed in partnership with the Irish Advocacy Network and in association with HSE mental health services. It is accredited by the School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University and for those who successfully complete the course they will have 10 credits at level 8 NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications). For those who wish to continue with their third level education, this course can provide a mechanism for that.

We will endeavour to deliver the course in a way that is facilitative and mindful of your personal perspective and familiarity with adult learning.  We will do our best to provide, as far as possible, a supportive learning environment.   The course will lean more toward the practical as opposed to academic learning.  We hope that on completion of the course you will feel stimulated to go on and learn new skills, sign up for new courses and look for opportunities to encourage and inspire others who are interested in peer working. For some, the notion of participating in a course at university is daunting and this is anticipated. The course is geared towards reducing concerns regarding this and we work at the pace of participants, providing individual support and structuring the course in a practical non threatening format. Please start off with an open mind and hopefully when you meet us and discover how the course is being delivered, any anxieties will be reduced.

Course Facilitators

Líam Mac Gabhann is co-ordinating the course and facilitating it with the Irish Advocacy Network. Líam  has worked for many years as a mental health practitioner and activist with a particular focus on the rights and empowerment of people who use statutory mental health services, and working with other practitioners towards this end. Líam is employed as a Lecturer in DCU.

Irish Advocacy Network (IAN) has already an established expertise in this area and a number of Peer workers from IAN will also deliver some of the course content.

Aims and Objectives of the Course

This module will develop participants required knowledge and skills in order to effectively practice as peer advocates with people using mental health services and within the community.

On successful completion of this course people will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a portfolio of practice skills conducive to the facilitation of support and recovery for people with mental health problems
  • Appraise national and international standards for the rights of people with disability and mental health 
  • Evaluate national and international practice and policy literature on peer advocacy and peer  support 
  • Develop a working knowledge of diverse models of peer advocacy and peer  support and utilise effective aspects of these models within the context of their service environment
  • Evaluate the contexts and support needs of people identified as having a mental health problem and the role of  peer advocates/peer support workers
  • Identify mechanisms whereby personal safety, health and reflective practice are applied.

Course Delivery

The course can be delivered in several ways and is flexible to the needs of each group of participants. For this group the course will be delivered in Dublin City University. This course will normally take place over eight weeks in total, which includes two weeks at the end for students to complete their practice portfolios. There are three components to the course that will maximise the ability for students to meet their learning outcomes through specified assessment formats.
Study blocks: There will be one weeks study block at the beginning of the course and a final one week study block two weeks before the module ends and final assignments have to be submitted.


Practice: Students will be engaged in their advocacy placements in the work place.  Learning outcomes are practice focused and each student will develop a reflective practice portfolio that includes assessment of a personal learning plan, reflective diary and collaborative feedback from supervisor and the service users they are working with. The portfolio will provide the medium for critical reflection and demonstration of skills developed as part of the course. Practice roles relevant to the course will be discussed and agreed in the first study week.


Practice Supervision/Support: Group Support will be provided on a weekly basis by a peer who has been trained in providing practice supervision/support as part of their role. 

Learning Styles and Aids

Although there may be some lecture type presentations, most of the classroom learning in the will be through group work and discussion. This will include role play, discussion of simulated scenarios and problem solving group work. The emphasis will be on the group learning together. On the first day, participant will explore some of the learning aids available to the course, e.g. using our online Moodle web page to set up discussions when we are not in class and pass on information.

Assessment

Students will be assessed against their role as potential peer advocates in practice. This will be assessed through the supported development and use of a reflective practice portfolio. Course participants will negotiate personal and practice objectives that must be achieved during the course time frame. Students will be assessed in a number of ways.
Their learning plan achievement will be assessed by peers, the people they are working with and the course facilitators. A final personal critical reflective diary will be assessed by course facilitators.

Mentorship and Support

All students will receive group support through weekly support workshops by a peer mentor. In addition each of the course facilitators will provide individual support and tutoring to designated students. During both study block weeks there will be workshops on adult learning and using the reflective practice portfolio.

 

This is simply an introduction to the course and hopefully will give you enough information for the moment. If you wish to know any further information before you start, please contact Liam Mac Gabhann Tel: 01 7008805 (leave message with number and I will ring you back) or
Email: liam.macgabhann@dcu.ie

Related Publications and Proceedings