Key messages

  • Four principal measurement scales are used by clinicians in Victoria to evaluate the mental health of adults and older people in clinical services.
  • There are three clinical scales used to measure outcomes among child and adolescent consumers in Victoria’s mental health services.
  • The use of a ‘suite’ of measures can help to overcome the limitations of individual measures.

A range of outcome measures are used to rate the mental health of people at key points of service delivery, as mandated under the National Outcomes and Casemix Collection (NOCC) protocol.

Outcome measures for adults and older people

Four principal measurement scales are commonly used by clinicians in Victoria to evaluate the mental health of adults and older people in clinical services:

  • HoNOS (Health of the Nation Outcome Scales) or HoNOS65+ (Health of the Nation Outcomes Scales for Over 65s)
  • LSP-16 – an abbreviated version of the Life Skills Profile
  • RUG-ADL – Resource Utilisation Groups-Activities of Daily Living Scale (for over 65s only)
  • Focus of Care – the clinician’s judgement of a consumer’s primary goal of care.

In addition, the Behaviour and Symptom Identification Scale (BASIS-32®) is used for adults and older people to rate their own mental health.

Outcome measures for children and adolescents

Three clinical scales are used to measure outcomes among child and adolescent consumers in Victoria’s mental health services:

  • HoNOSCA (Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents)
  • Children’s Global Assessment Scale (CGAS)
  • Factors Influencing Health Status (FIHS).

For self-assessments, child and adolescent mental health services use the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), which is the national standard for self-reporting by young people and their parents.

Benefits of using multiple outcome measures

Experience shows that no single measurement scale offers an accurate overall picture of a person’s mental health, and the use of a ‘suite’ of measures can help to overcome the limitations of individual measures.

For example, in adult mental health services, the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (HoNOS) is an excellent indicator of illness severity; however, because it focuses on the most severe symptoms over the past two weeks, it can provide a limited and problem-orientated picture of a consumer’s situation. This is counterbalanced by the Life Skills Profile (LSP-16), which focuses on a consumer’s general functioning over the past three months. When combined with the self-rated data from a BASIS-32®, these measures can present a far more accurate overall picture of a person’s individual progress.

More information

See More information for details on outcome measurement scales developed overseas that are licensed for use in Victoria.