Mind and body care for long-term conditions

Iliatha PapachristouAs part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Dr Iliatha Papachristou, Project Manager for 3 Dimensions for Long-Term Conditions (3DLC), introduces our new programme to deliver integrated mind and body care

The 3 Dimensions for Long-term Conditions (3DLC) project is a new King’s Health Partners initiative, delivered collaboratively by our partnership’s three NHS Foundation Trusts (Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley). As Project Manager for 3DLC, I have the responsibility of coordinating activity across the partners to help improve the care we are providing to patients and service users.

Common mental health disorders are more prevalent in people with long-term conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These conditions require significant self-management, but there is often no integrated psychological or social care for these patients. However, treating psychiatric co-morbidities has been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality in people with long-term conditions.

The aim of the programme therefore, is to demonstrate that by delivering integrated physical, mental and social care, we can improve the health and wellbeing of people living with three particular types of long-term conditions (LTCs): heart failure, hypertension and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Specifically, we are hoping to produce improvements in disease-specific biomedical outcomes, mental health status, quality of life, social functioning, and service use.

3DLC, funded by the Health Foundation as part of their ‘Scaling Up Improvement’ initiative, builds on the success of our 3 Dimensions of Care for Diabetes (3DFD) programme, which has effectively integrated psychological and social support with our diabetes services. 3DFD has demonstrated clinically significant improvements in glycaemic control, depression, anxiety, social outcomes and, subsequently, significant financial savings.

3DLC is scaling up 3DFD by integrating medical, psychological and social care for people in Lambeth and Southwark who have heart failure, COPD or hypertension as well as a mental health and/or social problem, where co-morbidity is impacting self-management. We are working with staff, patients and service users to develop care pathways which adapt the current physical health model across secondary and community care. Our vision is to provide an integrated care pathway that encompasses social and psychological support and supports multi-morbidity at all levels of disease severity. We are working closely with colleagues from across King’s Health Partners including from the integrated heart failure service, the integrated respiratory team and the Mind and Body programme. We are also building collaborative relationships with other local services such as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), The Living Well Hubs, patient support groups, charities (e.g. Pumping Marvelous) and our local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

As 3DLC we operate as one multidisciplinary and cross-profession team, working in the hospital and community. We are seeing patients and influencing their care, supporting workforce development and collecting data for the evaluation of the project. If you would like to find out more, please contact us for further information.