Using data in therapeutic care advances a best-practice model in the field of residential treatment. The most reputable programs in the field of adolescent care use data for a variety of clinical purposes including improving treatment outcomes. Research indicates that even the best therapists have difficulty predicting treatment success. With many, their opinion is driven by the natural hope they have for their client’s success.
Relevant data offers invaluable information for aiding therapists in charting the trajectory for their client and informing the treatment team on the master treatment plan’s effectiveness on achieving the desired result. Heritage uses a well-known assessment tool called the Youth Outcome Questionnaire (YOQ) to help measure progress for a client’s symptoms. Combining the YOQ with an innovative assessment called the Treatment Support Measure (TSM) empowers therapists to not only measure symptomatic progress and to predict the likelihood of success, but to deliver relevant interventions to target key areas for students
The YOQ consists of 64 questions administered monthly to each Heritage student. Parents also complete this assessment periodically. The assessment’s results rate the student across six domains:
- Interpersonal Distress
Assesses the amount of emotional distress in the adolescent. Anxiety, depression, fearfulness, hopelessness, self-harm, etc.
- Social Problems
Problem behaviors that are socially related
- Interpersonal Relations
Issues relevant to the adolescent’s relationship with parents, adults and peers.
Assesses symptoms including headaches, dizziness, stomachaches, nausea, bowel difficulties, sleep problems and other physical symptoms.
- Behavioral Dysfunction
Assesses ability to organize tasks, complete assignments, concentrate, handle frustration, etc
- Critical Items
Assesses change in paranoia, obsessive- compulsive disorders, hallucinations, delusions, suicide, mania, etc.
The YOQ data allows therapists to identify areas of improvement and digression. This valuable data helps to inform a therapist on potential methods of treatment that could decrease symptoms. However, targeted or correlated interventions or recommendations that address each of these six domains is not provided.
The Treatment Support Measure (TSM) provides therapists with data that takes much of the guesswork out of treatment. The TSM is a 40-item questionnaire that measures several domains known to be related to a child’s prosocial development and mental health outcomes. These domains cover:
The strengths or weaknesses of these domains directly affect symptoms reported on the YOQ. When a client’s social support system is strong, correlated symptoms reported on the YOQ scale are typically lower. If their support system is weak then one should expect to see higher symptom counts related to their social support system.
When symptoms reported on the YOQ fail to decline or even increase the therapist will turn to the TSM to identify weaknesses in one or more of the correlated TSM domains. In the example below the YOQ score for interpersonal distress increased significantly in July. Looking at the TSM scores the therapists notices that scores for social support are very low. The therapists then adjusts the treatment plan to strengthen that domain and closely monitors future YOQ scores to measure the treatment plan effectiveness.
When parents and staff take the YOQ and TSM assessments, the therapist has a better picture of the student’s symptoms and TSM domains. This data provides further insight for the therapist about the client.
Using data from both assessments is a powerful way for therapists to target fundamental domains that are proven to reduce symptoms and increase positive treatment outcomes. By using both models, Heritage provides its students and their families with an industry-leading therapeutic experience grounded in evidence-based research.