CPA stands for Care Programme Approach. It was implemented by a government act in 1991. It is a professional healthcare plan that seeks to identify and meet the care needs of mental health patients. A CPA meeting is a crucial part in this process. It is an regular meeting that, in the first instance, assess the patient's condition and his social and healthcare requirements. Meetings are then regular reviews to ensure the patient's needs are being met.
A patient is likely to receive a CPA if she has been diagnosed with an acute mental illness, has a history of self-harm or self-neglect, has been detained under the Mental Health Act, is considered a suicide risk or has learning disabilities. A CPA is usually initiated when a mental health patient is discharged from hospital or leaves a formal, residential care situation.
The attendees at an assessment CPA meeting will usually include the patient, the patient's family, friends, or other individuals who will be involved in caring for her. Members of a hospital or community psychiatric team and a patient's own General Practitioner and/or psychiatrist are also likely to attend.
During the assessment CPA meeting, the attendees will discuss the patient's condition and other problems that she may face. These can include financial issues, concurrent medical conditions (such as lack of mobility), accommodation, the availability of carers, be they relations or professional services, and legal issues. The meeting will also take into account children and any other dependants that the patient may have, and assess how best they can be cared for.
From this first meeting, a care plan is formulated and written down. This includes agreed goals, contingency plans for if a service is temporarily unavailable, and a crisis plan. A healthcare professional is assigned to implement and administer the details of the plan.
CPA meetings then take place regularly to review the ongoing effectiveness of the care plan. CPA meetings generally take place every 12 months, but can be more frequent if the situation demands it. At each meeting , the plan is discussed with the patient, their carers and any health professionals that are required. It will determine which aspects of the plan need to be changed to meet the needs of the patient. A new care plan may be written to reflect the alterations in the care plan that occur at a CPA meeting.