Model of Care FAQs

How is ACT different from traditional out-patient care?

ACT teams provide is an all-encompassing treatment program focused on recovery for patients with severe mental illnesses who have very complex needs and have found it difficult to engage with other mental health services.

The team provides psychiatric treatment, administers and monitors medications, help to access community services and assists individuals in their activities of daily living. Support is provided as frequently as required and can include daily contact.

What kinds of people work on an ACT team?

ACT teams are multidisciplinary teams with 10-12 staff that include a psychiatrist, nurses, social worker, peer support worker, occupational therapist, vocational specialist, addictions specialist, 2 other clinical staff (ie. recreational therapist) and a program assistant.

Who can join an ACT team?

ACT team services are for adults and priority is given to individuals who have a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder or other severe mental illness who have had recent hospital admissions and high service needs.

Is there any evidence that this treatment is effective?

Yes there is a lot of evidence that this treatment is very effective. Overall ACT services reduce time spent in hospitals, help with greater independent living skills, enhanced work and social functioning and greater client satisfaction. There is generally a >50% reduction in the number of hospital days for clients on ACT teams after 1 year and >80% reduction after that.

Do people served by ACT have additional issues, other than their psychotic illness?

ACT clients often have issues in all domains of their life including: financial, housing, employment, family, friendships, and other medical issues. The ACT team works with their clients to create attainable goals every 6 months that touch many of these areas.

Does an ACT client still see their family doctor?

Yes. The family doctor is essential in providing assistance with all other areas of medical concern other than their psychiatric condition.

Once you become an ACT client are you able to leave?

Involvement with an ACT team is voluntary and must be agreed upon by the client or their Substitute Decision Maker. A client can be served by the team for as long as needed. Typically after someone has been psychiatrically well for over 2 years there is an open discussion about planning for graduation from an ACT team.

What are the benefits of joining ACT?

Engagement with an ACT team will result in optimization of medications, minimization of side effects, improvement of psychiatric symptoms, development of a healthy life with better relationships with family and friends, participation in volunteer or paid work, maintenance of your home and finances, and help with diet and exercise. ACT will also ensure that primary care needs are met and provide counseling and psychotherapeutic treatments as needed.

Will ACT help the client’s family understand what is going on?

Yes, families and the team need to work together as effective partners. Education and support is provided to clients and their families about psychiatric diagnosis, prognosis, management and treatment.

If I think a family member can benefit from ACT what do we do?

A family doctor, patient or family member can refer a client to an ACT team.

How long will this take?

There are 80 ACT Teams across Ontario. Wait times vary depending upon your geographic location.