autism outcomes tool is released
June 20, 2012
by Angela Hussain
The first ever
outcomes-measurement tool to help assess the progress and change
of people with autism while they are in care has been released.
The launch of
the Spectrum Star tool means professionals have access to a tailor-made
instrument that assesses how individuals with an Autistic Spectrum
Condition progress while in hospital, residential or supported-living
The tool is
likely to be widely taken up by care services, particularly as commissioners
seek ways to measure how individuals with autism, including those
with Asperger Syndrome, move through a care pathway, and to assess
the cost-effectiveness of care services.
“Spectrum Star is the first outcome-measurement tool which
can demonstrate how clients with an Autism Spectrum Condition are
improving while receiving services,” said Sue Hahn, deputy
hospital manager at Milton Park Hospital, a specialist unit in Wyboston,
Bedfordshire, for people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions.
now professionals working in autism have had to use outcome measurement
tools for people with mental health problems, e.g. HONuS.
are just not appropriate or specific enough for people with Autistic
Spectrum Conditions,” said Ms Hahn.
The Spectrum Star was developed by outcomes-measurement experts
Triangle Consulting in conjunction with Brookdale Care, a leading
independent provider of hospital, residential and supported living
for people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions. Brookdale Care manages
Milton Park Hospital.
Triangle Consulting, Spectrum Star is free for all service providers
on a creative commons license.The tool will have wide appeal for
NHS and Local Authority commissioners, says Mark Goldsborough, manager
of Milton Park Hospital.
“Increasingly commissioners want to see outcomes provided
by care services, particularly in the present environment of tight
NHS budgets, and moves towards payment by results,”
“The Spectrum Star can help commissioners evaluate whether
or not money is well spent.”
Research and piloting of Spectrum Star, which was released last
month, began in 2010.
including 92 patients from Brookdale Care’s services, were
involved throughout its development, attending workshops and testing
“Historically it has been clinicians who have designed other
tools in mental health. But, with Spectrum Star, service users collaborated
from the start,” said Ms Hahn.
“Research for Spectrum Star involved running three workshops
each attended by up to 40 service users and professionals.
users spoke out a lot during these events. They challenged, disagreed,
and suggested every step of the way. I feel service users have genuine
ownership of Spectrum Star.
”Spectrum Star allows service users to work alongside professionals
in rating their abilities from one to ten in nine “Journey
of Change” areas, such as physical health, sensory differences
A keyworker then marks each rating point. After all nine scales
have been completed, a line joins all the points, so creating a
star shape which changes as a person moves through the scales.
The star can also be computer-generated.“Spectrum Star feels
real in the sense that it is person-centred, allows a shared and
accessible language between clients and professionals, and can facilitate
ongoing discussions around how people are improving or not,”
says Ms Hahn.
“Importantly, the tool can also encourage people to have difficult-to-have
conversations, such as addressing inappropriate behaviour.”
The nine ‘Journey of Change’ areas of Spectrum Star
are: Physical health; Living skills and self-care; Well-being and
self-esteem; Sensory differences; Communication; Social skills;
Relationships; Socially responsible behaviour; Time and activities.profession."
also: Big Issues
- Learning Disability
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