This project aims to offer REACT (Relatives Eduction and Coping Toolkit) to relatives of patients with a psychosis disorder to remedy the situation that has arisen during the COVID-19 crisis. Many relatives experience less help from the support system these days and a lot of the family work is completely terminated because it involves group therapy - usually single-family or multi-family groups. TIPS South-East who will lead this project have been in contact with the various hospital trusts (HFs) in the health region and with milieus elsewhere in the country, as well as the Pårørendesetet in Oslo. In many places both the health service and the relatives are without opportunities for offers.
REACT is an e-learning program consisting of various elements such as psychoeducation and exercises based on cognitive therapy meant to help participants to apply knowledge for their own situation. The program is based on the NICE guidelines for psychosis treatment, which are almost like the Norwegian ones. The project has previously been piloted in Vestfold Hospital, managed by TIPS South East, which is a regional competence service. It was very well received.
Relatives were offered the opportunity to use REACT NOR, a Norwegian translation that was adjusted to fit Norwegian conditions. In addition, they had the opportunity to talk to a supervisor who was a trained family therapist once a week for up to 6 months. This contact was by telephone. The offer was very well received and was little resource intensive compared to ordinary group therapy. We have now been allowed to release this program during the ongoing crisis, and we would like to link some research to this.
It will be free for all clinicians with a background within family therapy in psychosis to attend one training module at TIPS South-East in order to be confident in the program. This will take place on Zoom or a similar platform. Clinicians will receive the offer and can sign up for courses. We will use the established National Network for Psycho-Educational Family Work to disseminate course offerings. Those who take advantage of the offer, and the relatives they want to give the offer to, will be asked to participate in a research project. Relatives and clinicians will be asked to respond to questions related to various aspects of stress, of the program and the COVID situation.
Data from quantitative questionnaires will be sent via Web form to the Service for Safe Data Storage, TSD (Tjeneste for sikker datalagring) .
The project has 4 sub-goals:
- We want to find out more about how relatives are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic,
- We want to investigate how REACT is received by clinicians and relatives,
- We want to investigate facilitators and barriers to implementation of REACT-NOR
- We want to count on the cost-benefit of such an offer as among other things can be used for distance treatment in the future.
In addition to quantitative data which is collected regarding this, we want to interview clinicians and patients afterwards regarding the use of the program and how they envision that this can be implemented in clinic. A manual for these qualitative interviews will be prepared in a short time and must be considered at a later time point.
The goal is, among other things, to contribute to increased knowledge of how abrupt a reduction of offers and the quarantine affects the relatives, how the health care system experiences having to change behaviour with regard to new ways of delivering services, develop a national implementation manual and calculate what the cost-benefit value of such an offer would be in a country such as Norway based on previous analyzes.
We want to reach out to more people with family work and ensure that the health authorities manage to meet the requirements of the new package processes with regard to family work. A collaboration is established with national and international partners in this project. We will seek money to hire a PhD at a later date. At the moment, it is urgent to get started.