Text: Justine Liaudat

Connecting to teenagers through mobile teams

New practices, new areas of expertise: zoom on a research project carried out within the Department of Psychiatry at the Lausanne University Hospital.

“The goal of CHUV’s mobile teams is to establish a relationship by offering teens support and to provide local healthcare to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to have such access,” explains Vanessa Baier, a nurse with the mobile team led by Dr Laurent Holzer of the University Psychiatry Service for Children and Adolescents (SUPEA).

By meeting patients at their place of residence – family home or foster home – SUPEA professionals promote cooperation between primary care, which is in contact with patients, and outpatient or hospital units. Currently, they engage with about 50 adolescent patients.

The treatment can last “three to nine months, with generally one to two visits per week followed by discussions with loved ones and educators,” adds Baier. Ultimately, the goal is to redirect the teenagers towards a traditional healthcare system within a hospital or on an outpatient basis. The patients might have never accepted this form of treatment without first establishing a relationship with a member of the mobile team.

“It’s a matter of addressing the young person’s needs and reintegrating the patient based on his or her mental issues and requirements, all while making sure he or she is on board with the process every step of the way,” says Vanessa Baier.

Originally created to treat the adult patients in the psychiatric sector for the Lausanne region, the mobile teams gradually branched out to include young people as well. Over the past few years, the teams have added three other sectors. The SUPEA Research Unit works with mobile team clinicians to objectify the effectiveness of the proposed services and to model the trajectory of patients in care. “It’s a question of understanding for which types of patients this follow-up by the mobile teams is the most effective and for which other types of patients the care needs to be adapted,” explains Sébastien Urben, head of the Research Unit.



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