Introduction: This study evaluates implementation of the Quebec Mental Health Reform (2005-2015), which promoted the development of integrated service networks, in 11 local service networks organized into four territorial groups according to socio-demographic characteristics and mental health services offered.
Methods: Data were collected from documents concerning networks; structured questionnaires completed by 90 managers and by 16 respondent-psychiatrists; and semi-structured interviews with 102 network stakeholders. Factors associated with implementation and integration were organized according to: 1) reform characteristics; 2) implementation context; 3) organizational characteristics; and 4) integration strategies.
Results: While local networks were in a process of development and expansion, none were fully integrated at the time of the study. Facilitators and barriers to implementation and integration were primarily associated with organizational characteristics. Integration was best achieved in larger networks including a general hospital with a psychiatric department, followed by networks with a psychiatric hospital. Formalized integration strategies such as service agreements, liaison officers, and joint training reduced some barriers to implementation in networks experiencing less favourable conditions.
Conclusion: Strategies for the implementation of healthcare reform and integrated service networks should include sustained support and training in best-practices, adequate performance indicators and resources, formalized integration strategies to improve network coordination and suitable initiatives to promote staff retention.
Keywords: Mental health reform; implementation; integrated service networks; integration strategies; territories.