The South-Verona Community Psychiatric Service (CPS)

This service is run jointly by the Departments of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology of the University of Verona, in collaboration with the Department of Psychotherapy at the same University.

1. General organization

The South-Verona Community Psychiatric Service (CPS) was designed as a unitary service, in which great emphasis is given to communication between staff and to integration between the various clinical activities. It is first described here in general terms. The various facilities and services available to South-Verona residents are then detailed.
Staff members are divided into three multidisciplinary teams, each serving a sub-sector of the South-Verona catchment area. A smaller fourth team (consisting of three psychiatrists and one psychologist) provides a consultation and liaison service to the other departments of the University general hospital.

The three main teams are organized according to a "single staff module": with the exception of nurses, all staff (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers) work both inside and outside the hospital setting and retain responsibility for the same patients across different components of the service and through all phases of treatment. There are hospital nurses (who provide 24 hour cover over three shifts in the general hospital ward), hostel nurses, Mental Health Centre nurses and community nurses (who provide cover over two shifts, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and are on call, two at a time, during the weekends and overnight). Of the nursing staff, only the community nurses are assigned to one of the three teams.

This module was designed to ensure continuity of care, both longitudinal continuity (through the different phases of treatment) and cross-sectional continuity (through the different components of the service). Within each team, each patient is assigned to one particular member of the staff (the "case manager"). Case managers may be doctors, psychologists or senior nurses. Patients seen only at the out-patient department, by a psychiatrist or a psychologist, do not have a case manager.