Implementation of Supported Employment for Homeless Veterans With Psychiatric Or Addiction Disorders: Two-year Outcomes

This resource provides the abstract and link to a study which examines the implementation process for supported employment programs amongst homeless veterans with either mental health or substance abuse diagnoses.

OBJECTIVE: There has been growing interest in the dissemination of supported employment, but few studies have used a control group to examine the benefits of multisite dissemination efforts for clients or have addressed the needs of homeless persons with psychiatric disorders, addiction disorders, or both. This study examined a low-intensity training approach for implementing the individual placement and support (IPS) model at nine Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs and compared client outcomes before (phase 1) and after (phase 2) the program was implemented (phase 1).

METHODS: Special funds and sustained training, which was based primarily on teleconferencing, were used to support implementation of the IPS model of supported employment at nine VA programs for homeless veterans. A comparison cohort (phase 1) (N=308) was recruited from the nine sites before IPS was implemented. A postimplementation cohort (phase 2) (N=321) was recruited at the same sites and offered IPS. Mixed models were used to compare quarterly employment outcomes over two years in phase 1 and phase 2, adjusting for significant baseline differences (N=629).

RESULTS: Measures of both client-level service delivery and site-level fidelity to IPS suggest that implementation was successful at most, but not all, sites. Overall, compared with veterans in the phase 1 group, those in the phase 2 group had a better long-term work history at the time of program entry. When the analyses controlled for baseline differences, the mean number of competitive employment days per month over the two-year follow-up period was 15% higher for veterans in phase 2 (8.4 days compared with 7.3 days; p<.001) and the mean number of days housed during follow-up was also higher in phase 2 (34.1 days compared with 29.8 days; p=.04), but there were no differences for other outcome measures.

CONCLUSIONS: A sustained training program can be used to implement IPS in systems that have had little past experience with this approach. This effort was associated with improved employment outcomes and more rapid housing placement. (Authors)

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Psychiatric Services