Easier to say recovery than to do recovery

Health and social services in Norway have adapted recovery as base for the mental health and substance use services. Research shows that this is easier said than done.

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Sosialt arbeid, bachelor

Recovery is an approach which means focussing on recourses and goals instead of the traditional medical focus on diagnoses. Mainly recovery is about gaining a meaningful life despite limitations. 

In 2011, Leamy et al explored what patients regarded as important in a recovery process. That was Connectedness, Hope, Identity, Meaning and Empowerment – CHIME.

A study by Kvia et al. has explored how the employees can contribute to recovery processes and if they understand the concept of recovery through the question: How is recovery understood and expressed by the employees after receiving in-unit training on recovery-based services and how do the employees promote recovery in their work? 

Three main themes emerged:

  1. Reflections on Attitudes and Actions. They reflected more on attitudes and actions. It was important to understand their own practice.
  2. Patients Not Participating in Matters Regarding Their Situation. User participation is important in recovery. Despite this, patients were not participating in meetings regarding their situation. There was an attitude that patients had to be protected.  
  3. Balancing Paternalism and Autonomy. They expressed a challenge with balancing between the traditional paternalistic health and social system and to strive towards patient autonomy in a recovery perspective.

The results suggest that the CHIME-framework is not sufficiently operationalised to be a natural part of the services. There seems to be a lack of tools, mechanisms, and structures available on how to do this in specific daily tasks. Therefore, we promote the importance of continuing this focus. As shown in this study, recovery may be easier said than done.

Read full text article:

Kvia, A. og Grønnestad, T. m.fl. Easier to Say ‘Recovery’ than to Do Recovery: Employees’ Experiences of Implementing a Recovery-Oriented PracticeInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 2020

The review was made by the research group PARTAKE – Participation in school, working life and treatment at the University of Stavanger together with the authors. For more research news, feel free to follow us on our website or Facebook page.