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Original Research

Opening Doors to Recovery: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Recovery-Oriented Community Navigation Service for Individuals With Serious Mental Illnesses and Repeated Hospitalizations

Michael T. Compton, MD, MPHa,b,*; Mary E. Kelley, PhDc; Simone Anderson, MEdd; Samantha Ellisd; JaShala Graves, MAd; Beth Broussard, MPH, CHESe; Luca Pauselli, MDf; Adria Zern, MPHa; Leah G. Pope, PhDa,b; Mark Johnson, MDd; and Nora Lott Haynes, EdSg

Published: January 16, 2023


Objective: Opening Doors to Recovery (ODR) is a community navigation and recovery support model created in southeast Georgia by diverse, collaborative stakeholders. Following promising results from a quasi-experimental study, this randomized controlled trial hypothesized that, among patients with serious mental illnesses being discharged from inpatient psychiatric settings, compared to those randomized to traditional case management (CM) services, those randomized to ODR would have (1) lower likelihood of hospitalization, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer inpatient days; (2) lower likelihood of arrest, fewer arrests, and longer time to arrest; and, secondarily, (3) greater housing satisfaction and housing stability; and (4) higher scores on several scales measuring recovery-related constructs.

Methods: 240 individuals with Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 Disorders–based psychotic or mood disorders, functional impairment, and repeated hospitalizations were randomized (December 2014 to June 2018) to ODR or CM. Hospitalization and arrest data were collected from State agencies after 12 months, and housing- and recovery-related measures were collected in person, longitudinally at 4, 8, and 12 months. Intention-to-treat analyses were conducted. Effects of dropout were accounted for, and sensitivity analyses were run.

Results: ODR was associated with fewer days hospitalized (RR = 0.86, P = .001), a lower incidence of arrests (OR = 0.35, P < .0005), and longer time to arrest (HR = 0.42, P = .001). In addition, measures of housing satisfaction (Cohen d = 0.45) and recovery (Cohen d = 0.33) were significantly more improved in ODR patients compared to CM patients.

Conclusions: The ODR model appears to have advantages over more traditional CM services and could fill a gap in the service array. Studying the mediators of success, cost benefit, dissemination, fidelity, and financing of the model is warranted.

Trial Registration: identifier: NCT04612777

Volume: 84

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