The medical model

This page contains downloadable tools plus background and links to more information about the benefits of providing holistic care for people with serious mental illness. 

When treating someone with serious mental illness, thinking of poor physical health outcomes as a medical problem with a medical solution fails to recognise the complexity of issues. There is a need to move from a model that is focused on risk, symptoms and treatment, to one that considers:

  • The wider context of the person’s current situation (housing, employment, etc.) on their health and wellbeing.
  • The wider exploration of treatment options that are broader than psychiatric medication.
  • Risk within the individual’s context – through developing shared risk-management plans.

This would contribute to a wider, more holistic and alternative approach. It would be personalised to an individual’s situation and meet their diverse needs. It would be able to address their physical health issues that can negatively impact on health and wellbeing.

Recommended actions to take

  • Encourage innovation in ways to promote healthy lifestyles that are less reliant on medical interventions, delivered beyond conventional health settings, and optimise community assets – for example, service user-led resources, voluntary sector and faith-led organisations
  • Ensure that care planning is personalised and reflects the service user’s wider needs, including social care and mental health needs, and applying social prescribing – for example, using a care plan template such as the Bradford Mental Health Physical Review Template available from the TPP website.

Tools to help you

  • NSUN: Healthy Lives Project. The Healthy Lives Project report summarises physical healthcare experiences of people with serious mental illness diagnoses and makes recommendations for change.
  • The Bradford Mental Health Physical Review Template. A specially designed screen developed for the SystmOne, EMIS Web and Rio IT systems that collects all the physical health data required for each service user in one place and links to relevant guidance on treatment and intervention. The template now includes all the data recommended by the Lester tool but has a few additional sections designed to meet the specific requirements of Bradford District Care Foundation Trust.

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