Important legal notice
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Health - Taking the temperature of European healthcare
“To develop a methodology for assessing institutional care for the long-term mentally ill and to promote recovery and human rights across Europe.”

The problem

Chronic mental health problems may require people to reside in psychiatric or social care institutions on a long-term basis. These people are among the most vulnerable and socially excluded groups in Europe. However, institutions vary in the quality of care they provide. There is a need for an instrument to assess standards of care in European institutions, which incorporates assessment of the institution’s promotion of recovery and human rights, as well as the interventions used and their value for money. This would help set basic standards of care across Europe.  Better standards for mental health care across Europe


The project responds to the need for an improved methodology for assessing institutional care.

The project will:

  • Identify critical success factors for promoting service users’ recovery in institutional settings using literature reviews and information gathered from mental health professionals, service users, carers and advocates with relevant expertise
  • Build a framework to assess institutional care, which incorporates issues relating to patient autonomy, choice and dignity
  • Define standardised measures for the key domains of institutional mental healthcare and incorporate them into a pilot toolkit
  • Test and cross-validate the toolkit in psychiatric and social care institutions and refine it in response to feedback from those who will be using it so as to deliver a robust and useful set of measures for the assessment of institutional care

Contribution to policy development:

  • The first internationally agreed guidance on key measures of institutional care for people with long-term mental illness, which can inform European standards and policy.
  • Furnishes policy-makers with valuable information about the economic and clinical effectiveness of institutional care, and the promotion of human rights.
  • Identifies resource gaps and areas of concern that can inform future healthcare policy.

Project deliverables

  • Delphi exercises: information from mental health professionals, service users, carers and advocates concerning critical success factors for recovery – February 2008
  • Data collection from institutions using various tools – August 2009
  • Cross-validation and health economic (‘value for money’) analysis – October 2009
  • Internationally agreed toolkit for assessment of institutional care – November 2009
  • Publications and policy recommendations – February 2010


  • Project website – February 2008
  • Presentations at academic and non-academic conferences – February 2009
  • Publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals – February 2010
  • Articles in publications accessible to service user groups – February 2010
  • Workshops for stakeholders and user groups – February 2010

Technical information

Project acronym:
Project’s official full title: Development of a European Measure of Best Practice for People with Long Term Mental Illness in Institutional Care  
Research priority: Health determinants and the provision of high quality and sustainable health care services and pension systems (in particular in the context of ageing and demographic change)
Specific webpage: details not yet available
Proposal/contract no: 044088
Start date: 1 March 2007
Kick off meeting: March 2007
Completion date: 28 February 2010
European Commission scientific officer: Véronique Bernard,

Name: University College London
Abbreviated name: UCL
Address: Department of Mental Health Sciences
University College London
Royal Free Hospital
London NW3 2PF
Country: United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)207 794 0500 ext. 33719
Fax: +44 (0)207 830 2808


Name: St George’s University London
Abbreviated name: SGUL
Country: United Kingdom

Name: University Hospital, Dresden
Abbreviated name: TUDRE.PP
Country: Germany

Name: University of Granada
Abbreviated name: UGR
Country: Spain

Name: Charles University, Prague
Abbreviated name: UK1LF
Country: Czech Republic

Name: Medical University, Sofia
Abbreviated name: MU Sofia
Country: Bulgaria

Name: University of Trieste
Abbreviated name: DSM Trieste
Country: Italy

Name: University Medical Centre, Groningen
Abbreviated name: UMCG
Country: Netherlands

Name: Wroclaw Medical University
Abbreviated name: WMU
Country: Poland 

Name: University of Athens
Abbreviated name: CMHC Athens Uni.
Country: Greece