What does being on a community treatment orders entail? A 3-year follow-up of the OCTET CTO cohort
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Purpose: Community Treatment Orders lack evidence of effectiveness. Very little is known about how they are used in practice and over time in terms of what it obliges patients to do and the judicial threshold for remaining on an order. Aims: To investigate CTO implementation in England in terms of the use of specified conditions, and judicial hearings; whether these change over time, and; the level of continued coercion. Method: 36-month observational prospective study of patients on CTO in the OCTET follow-up study. Results: The number of CTO conditions remained stable over time but consolidated around medication adherence and remaining in contact with services. Ten percent of Mental Health Tribunal Hearings and only 1 percent of Hospital Managers Hearings resulted in discharge. Twenty-seven percent of patients experienced more than one CTO episode and eighteen percent remained under compulsion until the end of follow-up. Conclusions: CTOs seem to be used primarily to oblige patients to take medication and stay in contact with services. There is agreement between clinical and legal judgements about their appropriateness and threshold for use. A pattern of continuous coercion for a significant group of patients raises concerns. If CTOs are to be continued to be imposed, their use should be carefully monitored with further cohort studies with long-term follow-up.