Tuesday, September 20, 2005

PACT teams and AOT

For those able to access them, Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT/ACT) teams are a phenomenal service. PACT teams bring 24/7 mobile treatment directly to the most severely ill individuals, in their community.

States with PACT teams are fortunate. But in states with restrictive treatment laws, if a person says they don’t want the services, there is nothing more PACT can do. In fact, one study of a voluntary PACT team showed that one-third of the subjects were noncompliant with medication at any given time.

A better treatment law would empower these teams to go further and keep delivering services.

Even the manual for the model program recognizes that sometimes a court order may be required for clients who, because of their illness, are incapable of adhering to treatment.

… some clients who enter PACT treatment voluntarily later refuse treatment and may become candidates for involuntary services if they relapse… In this case the PACT team first tries to stay involved with the client who declines treatment … If the client’s behavior … meets the commitment law criteria, the PACT team participates in the commitment process.
Allness, D., Knoedler, W.H. (2003, June). A manual for ACT start-up: Based on the PACT model for community-based treatment for persons with severe and persistent mental illnesses (2003 ed.). Virginia: NAMI.