Advice to Administrators: General Guidelines for Selecting and Using Screening and Assessment Tools

What are the goals of the screening and assessment?

Is the screening and assessment process appropriate for the particular setting with women?

What costs are associated with the screening process; e.g., training, buying the screening/assessment instruments or equipment (computer), wages associated with giving and scoring the instrument, and time spent providing feedback to the client and establishing appropriate referrals?

What other staff resources are needed to administer and score the instrument, interpret the results, review the findings with the client, arrange referrals, or establish appropriate services to address concerns highlighted in the screening and assessment process?

While screening measures can be completed in just a few minutes, positive screenings involve more work. Does staff see a need for and value of the additional work? Did you prepare and train staff? What strategies did you employ to obtain staff or administrative buy-in? What other obstacles have you identified if the screening is implemented? Have you developed strategies to target their specific obstacles?

Do you have a system in place to manage the results of the screening and assessment process?

Note: While formal assessment tools are consistently used in research associated with substance use disorders, treatment providers and counselors are less likely to use formalized tools and more likely to only use clinical interviews (Allen 1991). The standardization of formal assessment measures offers consistency and uniformity in administration and scoring. If the implementation of these tools is not cost prohibitive and staff maintain adherence to administration guidelines, formal assessment tools can be easily adopted regardless of diverse experience, training, and treatment philosophy among clinicians. Using psychometrically sound instruments can offset clinical bias and provide more credibility with clients.

From: 4 Screening and Assessment

Cover of Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women
Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women [Internet].
Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 51.
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