Deciding on the best level of care for your patient’s mental health needs can be tricky. Symptom severity can wax and wane, and an individual’s contextual factors, such as their motivation level for help seeking, can have a huge impact on the level of support they would benefit from.What about the impact of co-occurring conditions on an individual’s overall health needs and level of support that would suit them best?
What if there was a tool to help you make that decision? One that takes into consideration essential clinical and contextual factors and then recommends the level of support required, for that individual, at that point in time.
The good news is that there is one: The Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST).
The IAR-DST is an initiative of the Australian Department of Health and brings together information from a range of sources including Australian and international evidence and advice from a range of leading experts. Patients present to their GPs with mental health concerns complicated by a range of interrelated factors making it challenging for referrers to determine the most appropriate level of stepped care. The IAR provides a standardised, evidence-based and objective approach to assist with mental health care recommendations.
The IAR-DST is being implemented nationally by all PHNs. The IAR-DST team at CESPHN have commenced implementation activities and paid training for GPs practicing in our region will commence in October 2022.
The objectives of the IAR-DST are to:
understand an individual’s mental health needs in the context of 8 holistic assessment domains, which help distil essential assessment information and amplify key signals (e.g., red flags) critical for decision making.
align the individual’s treatment needs to a resource or service intensity based on the least intensive and least intrusive evidence-based intervention that will likely lead to the most significant possible gain
provide a nationally consistent decision support tool to guide, but not replace, clinical judgement and consumer choice.
The initial target for IAR-DST training is GPs, however the longer-term aim is to achieve sector-wide adoption of the tool, creating a common language and transparency about how referrals are made.
Interested? To register your interest in attending a two hour IAR-DST training workshop and receive updates on training dates, please complete this form. A variety of resources related to the IAR-DST are available on our webpage.
If you have any specific questions or would like further information, please contact the IAR team at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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