Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents (HoNOSCA)
The Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents (HoNOSCA) was developed as an outcome measure for children and adolescents (3-18 years) engaging with mental health services (Gowers, Levine, Bailey-rogers, Shore & Burhouse, 2002). This measure provides a global assessment of the behaviour, impairments, symptoms and social functioning of children and adolescents with mental health problems. Studies such as Garralda et al. (2000) have found the validity and inter-rater reliability of the HoNOSCA to be satisfactory. Lesinskiene, Senina & Ranceva (2007) investigated the use of the HoNOSCA in an inpatient child psychiatric unit and found satisfactory inter-rater reliability amongst multi-disciplinary team members. The measure has been regarded as suitable for use as a routine measure in mental health services and is used internationally.
The HoNOSCA is used to assess the most pertinent problems presenting during the previous two weeks. The measure is comprised of 15 items in total, with the first 13 items used to compute a total score (Bilenberg, 2003). These include: disruptive/aggressive behaviours, over-reactivity/concentration problems, self-injury, substance misuse, scholastic skills, physical illness, hallucinations/delusions, nonorganic somatic symptoms, emotional symptoms, peer relationships, self-care, family relationships and school attendance. All scales are scored on a 0-4 point rating from “no problems” to “severe problems”. Higher scores are indicative of greater severity.
While the clinician rated HoNOSCA is the principal measurement tool, self-rated (HoNOSCA-SR) and parental rated versions of the HoNOSCA have also been developed to facilitate a more collaborative assessment. While the HoNOSCA has been found to correlate adequately with other measures of child psychopathology (Bilenberg, 2003; Yates et al., 1999), there appears to be little research investigating the relationship between clinician, parental and self-rated scores. Correlations between clinician rated and self-reported total scores were found to be poor in a study by Gowers, Levine, Bailey-Rogers, Shore & Burhouse (2002). In line with the collaborative ethos of the unit, the HoNOSCA’s were completed at admission and discharge by the young person (self-rated), multi-disciplinary team (clinicians) and parent.