evidence-based care

Evidence-based Primary Psychiatric Residential and Day Treatment Programs

Skyland Trail is a primary psychiatric evidence-based treatment program for adults ages 18 and older and adolescents ages 14 to 17. Our treatment team is led by a chief medical officer and a team of eight staff psychiatrists.

What is evidence-based treatment?

Mental health treatment centers that are evidence-based use science – the findings of reputable studies – to drive their treatment models and to guide client care. As an evidence-based psychiatric treatment center, Skyland Trail uses data to select treatments that have been proven to successfully help patients reduce symptoms and improve functioning.

Just because one study shows that something is good for diagnosis or outcomes, doesn’t make it evidence-based. The Skyland Trail chief medical officer and the psychiatry team determine if and when the community of psychiatric physicians believes a new therapy or technology has been adequately scrutinized and replicated by enough researchers with no vested interest in the results to be deemed a new standard of care.

Why is evidence-based treatment important?

If you are investing your time, energy and resources in a recovery program, you should be confident that the program is:

  1. offering therapeutic interventions that research has shown to be effective
  2. beginning treatment with an thorough diagnostic assessment to establish or confirm the client's diagnoses
  3. using results of the assessment to develop an evidence-based, individualized treatment plan for each client

When people participate in treatment that doesn't work for them, they may become frustrated or hopeless and give up.  We know that really effective treatments for almost all mental illnesses exist, and that, with effort and investment, most patients can recover.  That can require a lot of work, though.  We use evidence-based best practices to make that work pay off.

A tailored, individualized approach to treatment

A comprehensive psychiatric and psychosocial diagnostic assessment at admission helps us match each patient with a specialized treatment team and an individualized treatment plan built around the therapies research indicates are most appropriate for that set of diagnoses, symptoms and goals.

An important part of evidence-based care is matching each client with the right treatment. A combination of medications and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an appropriate evidence-based treatment approach for someone with major depression. But that same approach for someone with borderline personality disorder likely would not be effective.  It would not be evidence-based.

We use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for people with depression and anxiety. We use dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for people with borderline personality disorder. The treatment team also looks at a patient's history, treatment goals, and any co-occurring diagnoses and then supplements the primary approach with additional evidence-based therapies or interventions that could help the patient feel and function better.

Measuring Client Outcomes

The Joint Commission and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommend, and in some cases require, the use of standardized measurement tools in mental health treatment programs to guide care decisions. New studies indicate that these tools have potential to significantly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of care. This concept is termed “measurement-based care.” Skyland Trail is national leader in advancing measurement-based care.

When clients begin treatment at Skyland Trail, they complete assessments measuring their symptom severity, attitude toward medication adherence, hope for the future, level of functioning, senses of self efficacy and relationships with others, and physical health. We measure those indicators again when they complete their treatment. Results guide our continual efforts to strengthen and improve our treatment program.

Throughout treatment, clients complete psychologically normed instrument assessments every other week based on their primary diagnosis. Results serve two key functions:

  1. They help our treatment team make adjustments when needed to support continued progress for our clients
  2. They help clients and families see and acknowledge the positive steps they are making in treatment

Ongoing Clinician Training

Our primary counselors are master's level clinicians. Counselors receive ongoing specialized training in therapeutic modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Weekly multidisciplinary treatment team meetings and monthly  clinical supervision training ensures our counselors are providing evidence-based, model-adherent care.