The purpose of Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is to deliver comprehensive and effective services to individuals who are diagnosed with a severe mental illness and whose needs have not been well met by more traditional service delivery approaches.
The ultimate goal of ACT is to assist individuals to reach a point where having a mental illness is not central to their life.
What do ACT teams offer?
Multidisciplinary team approach:ACT services are provided using a multi-disciplinary team approach. Each team includes staff members from different mental health care specialties who work closely with the client to provide comprehensive services. Team members consist of a psychiatrist, nurse(s), and other professionals including vocational, family, wellness, and substance abuse treatment specialists. Many teams also include a peer specialist. Because team members share responsibility for providing treatment and rehabilitation services, the entire team supports each client's personalized goal of recovery.
Small caseload and continuity of care: With staff of diverse specialties and a low client to staff ratio of ten to one, ACT teams are able to provide tailored, individualized services to clients. Since clients typically receive services from each staff member on the team, care is continuous and coordinated, even if someone is on vacation or leaves the team.
Community service provision: ACT services are delivered primarily in community settings of the client's choice, including client homes, workplaces, parks, recreational sites, and other locations. Service delivery in the community makes getting treatment easier and more convenient for clients. It also allows team members to provide treatment in a more relaxed and informal atmosphere, and assists clients to build skills in the context of the communities where they live.
Flexible individualized services: Supporting client choices for their recovery is a major value of ACT services. Treatment plans are developed collaboratively by the team and client based on the individual's strengths, needs, desires, goals and culture. Treatment plans are modified as needed through ongoing assessment and goal setting. ACT teams meet daily to discuss each client's progress, allowing the team to plan or quickly adjust the services to meet clients' needs.
ACT teams deliver mutually agreed upon services and support each client's need to live successfully in the community and reach his or her recovery goals. ACT team specialists help to ensure that ACT teams provide clients with care that is coordinated, comprehensive, and continuous.
Vocational specialists assist clients to participate in community employment and educational opportunities by providing related rehabilitation and support services.
Family specialists work with the client's natural support system, with client permission. They provide education and support to the family with the goal of improving family relationships, and include the client's natural supports in treatment and ACT services.
Wellness self-management specialists work with recipients to develop skills that will support their recovery and attainment of their goals.
Substance abuse specialists work with the client to provide integrated dual disorders treatment (IDDT).
ACT teams help clients with psychiatric symptom management, getting a job, securing and keeping housing, substance use reduction or abstinence, and family and friend relationships. They can assist with the development of a wide range of skills including food shopping, cooking, cleaning, budgeting/banking, and other every day living skills. There is no time limit for receiving ACT services; the services are available to clients for as long as they need them.
Crisis coverage: ACT teams have primary responsibility for crisis response and are the first contact for after-hours crisis calls for the client and/or family. Each team has a staff member who is 'on-call' to assist clients when there is an after-hours crisis or emergency.