In November 2005, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published guidelines for the treatment of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and body dysmorphic disorder. These guidelines incorporated a stepped care approach with different interventions advised throughout the patient pathway. South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust devised a system of expert clinicians with special expertise in OCD/body dysmorphic disorder to help deliver this model of care. To aid the delivery of service it was decided to operationalise the definitions of severity of OCD/body dysmorphic disorder at each of the stepped-care levels. Examples are given as to how this has been applied in practice. Outcome is presented in terms of clinical hours in the first year of operation.
In total, 108 patients were referred to the service in the first year. Many of these patients were treated by offering advice and support and joint working with the community mental health team and psychotherapy in primary care teams who had referred. Sixty-eight patients were treated by a member of the specialist service alone and 57 of these suffered from severe OCD. Outcome data from these 57 patients is presented using an intention-to-treat paradigm. They showed a clinically and statistically significant reduction in OCD symptoms after 24 weeks of cognitive–behavioural therapy comprising graded exposure and self-imposed response prevention. the mean Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale score dropped from 28 (severe OCD) to 19 (considerable OCD). Depressive symptoms on the Beck Depression Inventory also decreased by an average 24% over the same period.
The feasibility of extending this model of service organisation to other areas and other diagnoses is discussed.
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