Successful implementations of evidence-based supported employment for people with psychiatric disabilities are well documented in the USA. While international reports are informative, the differences among developed countries in terms of labour markets, health, and welfare systems, means that Australian and New Zealand experiences can best guide the introduction of evidence-based practices in the Australian and New Zealand contexts.
This report describes the application of an evidence-based practice fidelity measure to monitor the effectiveness of an expanding supported employment program for youth adults with first episode psychosis.
The setting was 4 demonstration sites where employment staff co-located within an early intervention psychosis team.
The study sample was made up of 134 individuals. Sixty four percent were diagnosed with first episode psychosis, and received services from a community based early intervention psychosis team.
The IPS Fidelity scale was applied to each site. Data was collected and scored consistent with the Fidelity Scale directions.
The intervention was the Individual Placement and Support (IPS)model of supported employment. This is a systematic approach to helping people with severe mental illness achieve competitive employment. It is based on eight principles: eligibility based on client choice, focus on competitive employment, integration of mental health and employment services, attention to client preferences, work incentives planning, rapid job search, systematic job development, and individualized job supports. Systematic reviews have concluded that IPS is an evidence-based practice
Control conditions varied across the studies. Conditions included Group skills training, enhanced vocational rehabilitation, psychosocial rehabilitation, diversified placement, train-place, sheltered workshop, brokered vocational rehabilitation, and traditional vocational services.
Both low and high scoring fidelity items helped identify practical ways to further develop evidence-based practices at each site.
Fidelity strengths and weaknesses can be identified that have implications for other sites in terms of what employment consultants can most constructively do in context of the restraints of their immediate environment.