Unique Practice, Unique Place: Exploring Two Assertive Community Treatment Teams in Maine

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Issues in Mental Health Nursing,


Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is a model of care that provides comprehensive community-based psychiatric care for persons with serious mental illness. This model has been widely documented and has shown to be an evidence-based model of care for reducing hospitalizations for this targeted population. Critical ingredients of the ACT model are the holistic nature of their services, a team based approach to treatment and nurses who assist with illness management, medication monitoring, and provider collaboration. Although the model remains strong there are clear differences between urban and rural teams. This article describes present day practice in two disparate ACT programs in urban and rural Maine. It offers a new perspective on the evolving and innovative program of services that treat those with serious mental illness along with a review of literature pertinent to the ACT model and future recommendations for nursing practice. The success and longevity of these two ACT programs are testament to the quality of care and commitment of staff that work with seriously mentally ill consumers. Integrative care models such as these community-based treatment teams and nursing driven interventions are prime elements of this successful model.