Self-management is promoted as a strategy for improving outcomes for serious mental illness as well as for chronic general medical conditions. This study evaluated the feasibility and effectiveness of an eight-month program combining training in self-management for both psychiatric and general medical illness, including embedded nurse care management.
Participants were 71 middle-aged and older adults (mean age=60.3±6.5) with serious mental illness and chronic general medical conditions who were randomly assigned to receive integrated Illness Management and Recovery (I-IMR) (N=36) or usual care (N=35). Feasibility was determined by attendance at I-IMR and nurse sessions. Effectiveness outcomes were measured two and six months after the intervention (ten- and 14-month follow-ups) and included self-management of psychiatric and general medical illness, participation in psychiatric and general medical encounters, and self-reported acute health care utilization.
I-IMR participants attended 15.8±9.5 I-IMR and 8.2±5.9 nurse sessions, with 75% attending at least ten I-IMR and five nurse sessions. Compared with usual care, I-IMR was associated with greater improvements in participant and clinician ratings for psychiatric illness self-management, greater diabetes self-management, and an increased preference for detailed diagnosis and treatment information during primary care encounters. The proportion of I-IMR participants with at least one psychiatric or general medical hospitalization decreased significantly between baseline and ten- and 14-month follow-ups.
I-IMR is a feasible intervention for this at-risk group and demonstrated potential effectiveness by improving self-management of psychiatric illness and diabetes and by reducing the proportion of participants requiring psychiatric or general medical hospitalizations.