CPA, or Care Program Approach, is a technique that mental health care workers use to facilitate effective care for individuals with serious mental health problems. CPA is administered to assess individual needs, plan care, organize planned care and monitor and review care process. CPA is typically conducted before and after discharge from hospital or a formal care setting. A CPA meeting is a fundamental component of the care process.
The Community Care Act of Parliament introduced CPA in 1991 in England. It was intended to serve as the foundation for the care of individuals with mental health problems. According to the authors of the book “Introducing Mental Health,” CPA has four stages: the first stage entails an assessment of a patient’s social and health care needs; a care plan is developed in the second stage; the third stage identifies a care coordinator who is responsible for directly overseeing the care plan; and the fourth and final stage entails a regular review and monitoring of the care plan.
A CPA meeting is a formal process in which health care practitioners, members of a psychiatric ward or community team meet with a mental health patient to clarify the care that is to be provided. The meeting can be thought of as an orientation session in which a patient is introduced to all that is needed in terms of mental health care. The discussion elucidates to the patient his or her needs in terms of housing, medication, daytime activities or welfare benefits. A documented care plan summarizes the meeting and a follow-up meeting is set down the line. Most CPA meetings are an hour long, according to the National Health Service, UK.
The author of the book “Severe and Enduring Eating Disorder (SEED)” states that a mental health coordinator administers a CPA meeting. Attendees include the patient, family members or relatives, friends, carers and other involved health care professionals. An overview of mental health problems with a core focus on the problem the patient currently faces, medical problems, financial issues, occupational issues, legal issues, accommodation, support by carers and families, relapse indicators and risk assessment are issued that are typically discussed.
The essential function of a CPA meeting is to make a patient feel that his or her needs are fully understood and the proposed care plan adequately addresses all those needs. The meeting ensures that all those involved in the care plan are aware of their individual roles and responsibilities.
- "Introducing Mental Health: A Practical Guide;" Caroline Kinsella, Connor Kinsella and Vikram Patel; 2006
- “Severe and Enduring Eating Disorder (SEED);" Dr. Paul H. Robinson; 2009
- "Measuring Mental Health Needs;" Graham Thornicroft; 2001
- "The A-Z of Community Mental Health Practice;" Sheila Forster; 1997
- Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images