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Book Review   |    
Kathleen A. Clegg
Psychiatric Services 2006; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.57.11.1665
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by David S. Heath, M.B., F.R.C.P.C.; New York, Routledge, Taylor, and Francis, 2004, 328 pages, $76

Dr. Clegg is assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Public Academic Liaison Program, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland.

The interest in effective, compassionate, and cost-effective mental health care and the interest in community-based alternatives to psychiatric hospitalization have risen among mental health providers, policy makers, clients, and their families.

Home Treatment for Acute Mental Disorders, by David Heath, is a text that will appeal to readers from a variety of disciplines in mental health care, as well as to clients and their family members interested in increasing their fund of knowledge about available treatment options.

Heath is a psychiatric consultant to the Hazelglen Outreach Mental Health Service, a mobile crisis home treatment service in Ontario, Canada, and has "seen the benefits of mobile crisis home treatment for patients and their families first hand since 1989." In his book, Heath argues that "short-term, mobile, intensive treatment in the patient's home with staff available 24 hours a day is emerging as the most versatile and effective alternative to hospital and is applicable to a broad range of patients with acute mental disorders who would otherwise need admission."

Mental health administrators, policy makers, and direct service practitioners—such as psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, and case managers—will find this book to be a thorough review of the literature and research supporting the use of mobile crisis home treatment as a treatment option as well as a kind of how-to manual for setting up and operating a service of this kind.

Mobile crisis home treatment is compared and contrasted with other available treatment modalities, such as inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, assertive community treatment, and outreach services. Seven teams delivering mobile crisis home treatment in the U.S., Canada, and Britain are described, which offers an international perspective. In a particularly useful review, the author discusses the use of mobile crisis home treatment for several common psychiatric diagnoses—including depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, mania, first-episode psychosis, and severe postpartum depression—and illuminates this discussion with numerous detailed case examples. The chapter on setting up and operating a mobile crisis home treatment service is a must for anyone considering, starting, or running such a service. The author utilizes sidebars to discuss areas of related interest, thereby highlighting these areas for interested readers as well as for those who do not wish for a diversion from the content at hand.

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