Background: The resource group method provides a structure to facilitate patients’ empowerment and recovery processes, and to systematically engage signifcant others in treatment and care. A patient chooses members of a resource group (RG) that will work together on fulflling patients’ recovery plan. By adopting shared decision-making processes and stimulating collaboration of diferent support systems, a broad and continuous support of patients’ chosen goals and wishes is preserved and problem solving and communication skills of the RG members are addressed.
Objective: The objectives of this study are (1) to establish the efectiveness of the RG method in increasing empowerment in patients with severe mental illnesses (SMI) in the Netherlands; (2) to investigate the cost-efectiveness and cost utility of the RG method; and (3) to qualitatively explore its dynamics and processes.
Methods/design: This multisite randomized controlled trial will compare the efects of the RG-method integrated in Flexible Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) (90 patients) with those of standard FACT (90 patients). Baseline assessments and 9-month and 18-month follow-up assessments will be conducted in face-to-face home visits. The primary outcome measure, empowerment, will be assessed using the Netherlands Empowerment List (NEL). The secondary outcomes will be quality of life (MANSA); personal, community and clinical recovery (I.ROC); general, social and community functioning (WHODAS 2.0); general psychopathological signs and symptoms (BSI-18); and societal costs (TiC-P). An economic evaluation of the cost-efectiveness and cost utility of the RG method will also be conducted. A qualitative multiple case-study will be added to collect patients’, RG members’ and professionals’ perspectives by indepth interviews, observations and focus groups.
Discussion: This trial will be the frst to study the efects of the RG method on empowerment in patients with SMI. By combining clinical-efectiveness data with an economic evaluation and in-depth qualitative information from primary stakeholders, it will provide a detailed overview of the RG method as a mean of improving care for patients with SMI. Trial registration The study has been registered in the Dutch Trial Register, identifer: NTR6737, September 2017.

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Keywords Community mental health, Severe mental illness, Recovery, Empowerment, Family, Family intervention, Care structure, (Flexible) Assertive Community Treatment, Resource group, RACT
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Journal International Journal of Mental Health Systems
Tjaden, Cathelijn D., Mulder, C.L, van Weeghel, J, Delespaul, P.A.E.G, Keet, R, Castelein, Stynke, … Kroon, H. (2019). The resource group method in severe mental illness. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 13. doi:10.1186/s13033-019-0270-2