Person-centered care planning and service engagement: A study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Victoria Stanhope, Janis Tondora, Larry Davidson, Mimi Choy-Brown, Steven C. Marcus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Service disengagement is a pervasive challenge the mental health care system faces. Mental health services are of little value should persons with mental illnesses continue to opt out of receiving them. Consumers attribute disengagement from care to an absence of choice in their treatment. In response, the mental health system is adopting a person-centered model, based upon recovery principles, to engage consumers more actively in their care. Person-centered care planning is a promising practice involving collaboration to develop and implement an actionable plan to assist the person in achieving personal recovery goals. Methods/design: This study design combines a parallel-group randomized controlled trial of community mental health organizations with qualitative methods to assess the effectiveness of person-centered care planning. Participants at 14 sites in Delaware and Connecticut will be randomized to treatment as usual or the person-centered care planning intervention. Participants will be in leadership (n = 70) or supervisory or direct care (n = 210) roles. The person-centered care planning intervention involves intensive staff training and 12 months of ongoing technical assistance. Quantitative survey data will be collected at baseline, 6 months and 12 months measuringperson-centered care planning competency and organizational factors. Consumer outcomes (engagement, medication adherence, functioning and consumer satisfaction) will be assessed by Medicaid and state-level data. Qualitative data focused on process factors will include staff and consumer interviews and focus groups. In this intent-to-treat analysis, we will use mixed-effects multivariate regression models to evaluate the differential impact of the person-centered care planning intervention on each consumer and implementation outcome as well as the extent to which clinician assessments of organizational factors are associated with the implementation outcome. Mixed methods will triangulate and strengthen the interpretation of outcomes. Discussion: The aim of this study is to generate valuable guidance for state systems engaged in scale-up and transformation efforts. Targeted staff selection for training to support sustainability will serve to provide further insight into important intervention implementation strategies. Person-centered care planning has the potential to enhance the impact of all evidence-based and recovery-oriented practices and bring practice into line with the emerging national guidelines in health care reform. Trial registration: This trial was registered with (Identifier:NCT02299492) on 21 November 2014 as New York University Protocol Record PCCP-13-9762, Person-Centered Care Planning and Service Engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number180
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 22 2015


  • Implementation
  • Mental health recovery
  • Mental health services
  • Mixed methods
  • Person-centered care planning
  • Service engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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