Assertive community treatment (ACT) offers individualized,
multidisciplinary care to the more severely mental ill, allowing
them the opportunity to live and function in their communities
instead of in institutions.
The multidisciplinary team of professionals may plan and monitor
treatment, accompany patients to medical and dental appointments,
represent them at hearings, and help them manage money, pay
bills, and apply for services. Patients also receive help with
housekeeping, shopping, cooking, transportation, finding and
keeping jobs, and obtaining housing. Team members educate the
patients about mental illness, provide drug abuse counseling, and
help patients cope with psychotic episodes and other psychiatric
crises. They may also order, deliver, and supervise the use of
Most of these services are provided not in a clinic but in a
patient's home or, for homeless patients, in a shelter or on the
streets. The staff meets daily to coordinate its work, and at
least one member is available at all times. The team takes
referrals but may also reach out to patients on its own. Team
members try to develop a long-term relationship with patients,
following them for years if necessary, even as they pass through
hospitals, jails, and homeless shelters.
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