Leading behavioural health services provider, the Akeso Group, has launched a post-discharge outpatient programme, called the Akeso Graduates (TAG) Programme, which aims to help recently discharged patients continue their recovery at home and reduce readmissions.

TAG is a one year transitional programme designed to address post discharge risk factors immediately after a patient has been discharged from an Akeso hospital by increasing discharge plan compliance and consolidating Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) skills.

According to Akeso, DBT is an evidence-based psychotherapy that is used by mental healthcare professionals to address a range of conditions including mood disorders, substance use, post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders.

DBT aims to establish the necessary skills that enable patients to calm and relax their minds; learn to cope and manage with psychic pain; more effectively manage their emotional and behavioural responses; and create new and improve existing relationships.

Once discharged, patients will receive an SMS or email from their healthcare provider to allow for regular clinical assessment and identify early warning signs of possible relapse that could lead to readmissions.

According to Akeso, low rates of adherence to discharge plans put patients at risk of readmission. However, research conducted in 2012 by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), University of the Witwatersrand and Helen Joseph Hospital showed that the introduction of an ongoing support initiative for outpatients significantly increases both medication adherences from 15.4% to 88.6% as well as follow-up appointment attendance.

“TAG further embodies our treatment philosophy that programmes of intervention should be fully integrated and multidisciplinary to ensure the best possible patient outcomes,” said Medical Doctor and Specialist Psychiatrist, Dr Mike West.

“It also aims to assist the healthcare industry as a whole to become more sustainable by limiting hospital readmissions and enabling patients not only to get well, but to stay well for as long as possible” continued Dr West.

Akeso is collecting patient reported clinical data to gain a better understanding in what areas patients are experiencing difficulty in their ability to perform their normal daily activities and how they are impacted from by the symptoms of their conditions.

Akeso uses this information to personalise care plans, track patient progress and to look for areas where we can improve our care.

“The formalised assessment and reporting process that is part and parcel of the Akeso TAG Programme will afford the opportunity to track patients’ progress and collect valuable information through measurement post discharge. Besides, through our TAG Programme we will equip our patients with the tools, support, skills and knowledge that will help the keep their heads up once they are discharged from our hospitals,” concluded Dr West.

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