Care Plans in Community Mental Health:
an Audit Focusing on People with Recent
Vimal Stanislaus, PhD, MD
Tarun Bastiampillai, FRANZCP, MBBS, BMedSc
Melanie Harris, PhD, MEd, DipInfMan/Lib, BTechnol
Malcolm Battersby, PhD, FRANZCP, FAChAM, MBBS
Care planning is a key requirement for recovery-focused mental health care.
with care plans
widely regarded as crucial, fundamental and largely successful guides in managing the complex
problems of people with mental illnesses.
Various mental health policies internationally mandate
that care plans must be created for all people using mental health services. As well, care planning
approaches have been developed worldwide to provide comprehensive assessment and holistic
management of the person’s illnesses and social needs using a multidisciplinary approach and
involvement of the service user. Care planning generally begins with assessment of mental, social
and physical needs, and then, care activities and coordinating services are formulated to address the
The Care Programme Approach of the Department of Health in the UK
is an internationally
acknowledged care planning framework, consistent with a recovery model of care and
accompanied by an associated care plan audit tool.
A similar approach, the Mental Health Care
Plan, was introduced in 2010 in South Australia (SA). The SA health authority afﬁrmed the
requirement that services adopt the care plan with procedural documents containing the Bdirective
that all consumers of mental health services must have a current care plan that can be accessed on
[the IT system]^. An information booklet
was also distributed with the intention that the Mental
Health Care Plan Bwill be implemented in all regions as tools for consistent and transparent care^.
Beneﬁts from such initiatives are seen only if people with mental illnesses actually receive care
planning and the care plans are created and enacted as intended. It is known that various categories
Address correspondence to Melanie Harris, PhD, MEd, DipInfMan/Lib, BTechnol, Flinders Human Behaviour and Health
Research Unit, Psychiatry, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia. Phone: 61 8 8404 2320;
Vimal Stanislaus, PhD, MD, Flinders Human Behaviour and Health Research Unit, Psychiatry, Flinders University, GPO
Box 2100, Adelaide, SA, Australia.
Malcolm Battersby, PhD, FRANZCP, FAChAM, MBBS, Flinders Human Behaviour and Health Research Unit,
Psychiatry, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA, Australia.
Tarun Bastiampillai, FRANZCP, MBBS, BMedSc, Southern Adelaide Clinical School, Psychiatry, Flinders University,
Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 2016. 474–482. c
2016 National Council for Behavioral Health. DOI
474 The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research 44:3 July 2017