Crisis resolution teams for people experiencing mental health crises: the CORE mixed-methods research programme including two RCTs

Brynmor Lloyd-evans, Marina Christoforou, David Osborn, Gareth Ambler, Louise Marston, Danielle Lamb, Oliver Mason, Nicola Morant, Sarah Sullivan, Claire Henderson, Rachael Hunter, Stephen Pilling, Fiona Nolan, Richard Gray, Tim Weaver, Kathleen Kelly, Nicky Goater, Alyssa Milton, Elaine Johnston, Kate FullartonMelanie Lean, Beth Paterson, Jonathan Piotrowski, Michael Davidson, Rebecca Forsyth, Liberty Mosse, Monica Leverton, Puffin O’hanlon, Edward Mundy, Tom Mundy, Ellie Brown, Sarah Fahmy, Emma Burgess, Alasdair Churchard, Claire Wheeler, Hannah Istead, David Hindle, Sonia Johnson

Research output: Book/ReportReportpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Crisis resolution teams (CRTs) seek to avert hospital admissions by providing intensive home treatment for people experiencing a mental health crisis. The CRT model has not been highly specified. CRT care is often experienced as ending abruptly and relapse rates following CRT discharge are high.

The aims of CORE (Crisis resolution team Optimisation and RElapse prevention) workstream 1 were to specify a model of best practice for CRTs, develop a measure to assess adherence to this model and evaluate service improvement resources to help CRTs implement the model with high fidelity. The aim of CORE workstream 2 was to evaluate a peer-provided self-management programme aimed at reducing relapse following CRT support.

Workstream 1 was based on a systematic review, national CRT manager survey and stakeholder qualitative interviews to develop a CRT fidelity scale through a concept mapping process with stakeholders (n = 68). This was piloted in CRTs nationwide (n = 75). A CRT service improvement programme (SIP) was then developed and evaluated in a cluster randomised trial: 15 CRTs received the SIP over 1 year; 10 teams acted as controls. The primary outcome was service user satisfaction. Secondary outcomes included CRT model fidelity, catchment area inpatient admission rates and staff well-being. Workstream 2 was a peer-provided self-management programme that was developed through an iterative process of systematic literature reviewing, stakeholder consultation and preliminary testing. This intervention was evaluated in a randomised controlled trial: 221 participants recruited from CRTs received the intervention and 220 did not. The primary outcome was re-admission to acute care at 1 year of follow-up. Secondary outcomes included time to re-admission and number of days in acute care over 1 year of follow-up and symptoms and personal recovery measured at 4 and 18 months’ follow-up.

Workstream 1 – a 39-item CRT fidelity scale demonstrated acceptability, face validity and promising inter-rater reliability. CRT implementation in England was highly variable. The SIP trial did not produce a positive result for patient satisfaction [median Client Satisfaction Questionnaire score of 28 in both groups at follow-up; coefficient 0.97, 95% confidence interval (CI) –1.02 to 2.97]. The programme achieved modest increases in model fidelity. Intervention teams achieved lower inpatient admission rates and less inpatient bed use. Qualitative evaluation suggested that the programme was generally well received. Workstream 2 – the trial yielded a statistically significant result for the primary outcome, in which rates of re-admission to acute care over 1 year of follow-up were lower in the intervention group than in the control group (odds ratio 0.66, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.99; p = 0.044). Time to re-admission was lower and satisfaction with care was greater in the intervention group at 4 months’ follow-up. There were no other significant differences between groups in the secondary outcomes.

Limitations in workstream 1 included uncertainty regarding the representativeness of the sample for the primary outcome and lack of blinding for assessment. In workstream 2, the limitations included the complexity of the intervention, preventing clarity about which were effective elements.

The CRT SIP did not achieve all its aims but showed potential promise as a means to increase CRT model fidelity and reduce inpatient service use. The peer-provided self-management intervention is an effective means to reduce relapse rates for people leaving CRT care.

Study registration
The randomised controlled trials were registered as Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN47185233 and ISRCTN01027104. The systematic reviews were registered as PROSPERO CRD42013006415 and CRD42017043048.

The National Institute for Health Research Programme Grants for Applied Research programme.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

Publication series

NameProgramme Grants for Applied Research
PublisherNIHR Journals Library
ISSN (Print)2050-4322


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