Buchholz, A., Berner, M., Dams, J., Rosahl, A., Hempleman, J., König, H.-H., Konnopka, A., Kriston, L., Piontek, D., Reimer, J., Röhrig, J., Scherbaum, N., Silkens, A., Kraus, L.

Patient-centered placement matching of alcohol-dependent patients based on a standardized intake assessment: process evaluation within an exploratory randomized controlled trial


BMC Psychiatry, 22(1), 60. doi: 10.1186/s12888-022-03705-9

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Background: In the implementation of placement matching guidelines, feasibility has been concerned in previous research. Objectives of this process evaluation were to investigate whether the patient-centered matching guidelines (PCPM) are consistently applied in referral decision-making from an inpatient qualified withdrawal program to a level of care in aftercare, which factors affect whether patients actually receive matched aftercare according to PCPM, and whether its use is feasible and accepted by clinic staff.

Methods: The study was conducted as process evaluation within an exploratory randomized controlled trial in four German psychiatric clinics offering a 7-to-21 day qualified withdrawal program for patients suffering from alcohol dependence, and with measurements taken during detoxification treatment and six months after the initial assessment. PCPM were used with patients in the intervention group by feeding back to them a recommendation for a level of care in aftercare that had been calculated from Measurements in the Addictions for Triage and Evaluation (MATE) and discussed with the staff on the treatment unit. As measurements, The MATE, the Client Socio-Demographic and Service Receipt Inventory—European Version, a documentation form, the Control Preference Scale, and the Motivation for Treatment Scale were administered. A workshop for the staff at the participating trial sites was conducted after data collection was finished.

Results: Among 250 patients participating in the study, 165 were interviewed at follow-up, and 125 had received aftercare. Although consistency in the application of PCPM was moderate to substantial within the qualified withdrawal program (Cohen’s kappa ? .41), it was fair from discharge to follow-up. In multifactorial multinomial regression, the number of foregoing substance abuse treatments predicted whether patients received more likely undermatched (Odds Ratio=1.27; p=.018) or overmatched (Odds Ratio=0.78; p=.054) treatment. While the implementation process during the study was evaluated critically by the staff, they stated a potential of quality assurance, more transparency and patient-centeredness in the use of PCPM.

Conclusions: While the use of PCPM has the potential to enhance the quality of referral decision making within treatment, it may not be sufficient to determine referral decisions for aftercare.

Trial registration: German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00005035. Registered 03/06/2013.


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