Objectives: To assess the health and social functioning of patients attending a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and to measure the impact of attendance using the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents (HoNOSCA).
Method: HoNOSCA was completed on 73 consecutive patients attending for initial assessment with a review assessment being completed after six months or at discharge from the clinic if this occurred sooner on 53 of these. The impact of attendance at the clinics was determined by comparing initial and review mean HoNOSCA Scores.
Results: Of the 53, 66% were male and 34% female. Boys were more highly rated with regard to aggressive behaviour, performance in peer relationships and family life relationships whilst girls were rated as having more nonorganic and emotional symptoms. Older children showed the highest rates of poor school attendance, non accidental (self) injury and emotional problems while younger children showed the greatest aggressive behaviour and language skill problems. An improvement in the total HoNOSCA score from initial assessment to review was seen in 92%. There was an improvement in the HoNOSCA mean score from initial assessment to review.
Conclusions: Age, sex and symptom profiles of patients attending the service were similar to other CAMHS. Attendance at CAMHS produces improvements in patient outcomes over a six month period as measured using HoNOSCA, which proved to be a useful if somewhat time consuming tool.