HoNOS, checklists and semi-structured interviews - The Koch Family
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HoNOS, checklists and semi-structured interviews

Mental health services not routinely (and formally) using HoNOS (Health of the Nation Outcome Scales) are gearing up with a push to implement the scale across services by April. HoNOS has been around for a long time almost 20 years so it is time it earned its keep. Perhaps high quality tools take time to emerge from the noise and chatter of the care marketplace? ;-)

Although they are available, I've been putting a presentation together to help get to grips with HoNOS in the role of a trainer. The evidence for the validity and benefits of using HoNOS is well established, with the HoNOS family of scales boasting global usage and development:
  • HoNOS for working age adults
  • HoNOS65+ for older people
  • HoNOSCA for children and adolescents
  • HoNOS-Secure for use in health and social care settings secure psychiatric, prison health care and related forensic services, including those based in the community)
  • HoNOS-LD for learning disabilities
  • HoNOS-ABI for acquired brain injury (ref.)
The number of assessment, intervention and evaluation tools available to clinicians AND managers begs the question (ironically): is there 'space' in the toolkit for yet another tool? If HoNOS can help establish a coherent currency for mental health commissioning beyond the block contract then this is most welcome. Mental health services need to move forward on several fronts. There is a timeline running with completion of this difficult task in its sights.

One set of guidance for HoNOS points out that:

The scales are not used as a checklist or semi-structured interview, but form a brief record of severity.

There is some succor there then, since Hodges' model is a checklist and a quad-structured interview there is still a role for a global conceptual framework.

There's nothing like a full and tidy set of tools!

Honos health of the nation outcome scales report on research and development July 1993 - December 1995


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