Innovations in Practice: Feasibility of the development and well-being assessment as an adjunct to clinical assessment in child and adolescent mental health services

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Background:Child and Adolescent Mental Health services (CAMHS) might benefit from the use of structured diagnostic assessments as an adjunct to clinical assessment. Such assessments will only support clinical practice if their completion avoids too great a burden to parents and services, and if the resulting information is useful to practitioners.Method:Parents were asked to complete the Development And Well-Being Assessment (DAWBA) before their initial appointment at a community CAMHS, and DAWBAs were disclosed to the assessing practitioners in a random half of cases. Parents and Practitioners were asked to complete a questionnaire about their experience of the DAWBA. Parents completed the experience of services questionnaire 6 months after the baseline.Results:Most parents found the interview easy to understand. Many reported that the experience of completing the interview changed the way that they thought about their child's difficulties in a positive manner. Practitioner reports were also mainly positive. The mean helpfulness score adjusted for the clustering of cases within practitioners out of 1–5 for very unhelpful to very helpful was 4.04 (95% Confidence Interval: 3.89–4.18). There was no association between practitioner access to the DAWBA and parent reported satisfaction on the Experiences of Services Questionnaire (mean difference 0.74, 95% confidence interval −0.59–02.06, p0.27).Conclusions:With the right supporting arrangements in place, the DAWBA would be a feasible assessment tool in community CAMHS.

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