Experiences of transition from hospital to community living via the Pathways to Community Living Initiative: A qualitative evaluation study of service users and family members

Publication Name

Australasian Psychiatry


Objective: People with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI) may be excluded from community-based care if their complex support needs cannot be met and are at risk of institutionalisation. The Pathways to Community Living Initiative (PCLI) aims to address barriers to community living. This study evaluated the PCLI from the perspective of service users and family members. Methods: Evaluation questions were explored in semi-structured interviews. Transcripts were coded inductively and deductively. This article adheres to relevant EQUATOR standards for qualitative research and reporting. Results: There were 37 interviews with 27 service users and 12 family members. Factors associated with positive experiences of transition from hospital included detailed planning, personalised care, and staged transitions which alleviated concerns around safety, support, and coping. Community living provided opportunities to exercise greater choice and control in everyday life and, for some, to reconnect with family. Poor physical health and social isolation were noted as potential risks. Conclusions: Participants regarded community living as preferable to hospital settings, and highly valued their freedom. They reported that clinical, aged care and disability supports helped them. Additional support may be required to improve physical health and social connectedness, and families appear to have unmet needs for psychosocial support.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access

Funding Sponsor

NSW Ministry of Health



Link to publisher version (DOI)