Monitoring outcomes to ensure good quality of care

How effective is your service? What results have been achieved for each client?

Whether you provide therapy for physical problems such as muscle injuries, or emotional and mental health problems such as anxiety or depression, it’s vital to monitor and measure the outcomes.

Professional bodies, as a condition of membership, may ask you to state that you have an effective system in place. Outcome measurement is also an essential way to ensure that you are continually providing a good service.

Outcome measurement systems

There are a variety of systems available to help you monitor and measure outcomes. In this article, we focus largely on the CORE system, which is designed for practitioners working in psychological therapy.

However, we have also provided links to information for practitioners in other fields at the end of this article.

The CORE system

This is the most widely used system for outcome measurement by psychological practitioners in the UK. It’s freely available and supported by over a hundred academic publications. The main tool is the CORE Outcome Measure (CORE-OM). If you want to download this right now, visit the CORE website, or read on for a brief explanation of its features.

What is the CORE Outcome Measure?

This is a questionnaire sent to the client both BEFORE and AFTER therapy. The questionnaire contains 34 questions, which ask them how they have been feeling over the past week. The client answers each question using a scale ranging from not at all to most or all of the time.

The questions cover:

  • subjective well-being
  • problems and symptoms
  • life functioning
  • risk of harm

Using this form, you can produce a mean score. Comparison of both the pre- and post-therapy scores allows you to measure the outcome.

What else is available?

The CORE website contains a number of other forms and resources that will help you to provide a good quality of care. These include a therapy assessment form that will help you with your initial client assessment, and an end of therapy form that will help you to analyse the outcomes.

I don’t work in the psychological field: what about me?

No matter what your area of expertise, it’s good practice to measure the outcomes of treatment for each of your clients. For more help and advice, you should contact your professional body in the first instance, or speak to colleagues to find out how they measure their outcomes.

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