Australian Mental Health Outcomes and Classification Network

Special Projects

AMHOCN has undertaken special projects on carer outcome mesaurement and the development of clinical prompts related to the NOCC measures.

The Living in the Community Questionnaire (LCQ)

The Training and Service Development component of the Australian Mental Health Outcomes and Classification Network (AMHOCN TSD) has been funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Health and Ageing to develop a consumer self report measure that focuses on aspects of social inclusion and recovery. A Technical Advisory Group has been involved in the development of the measure, now known as the Life in the Community Questionnaire (LCQ), and consultations on the first draft were held across various jurisdictions.

AMHOCN TSD has undertaken a proof of concept trial for the Life in the Community Questionnaire which aimed to better understand how the measure performs in clinical practice. This proof of concept work has been gathering the views of a small number of clinicians and consumers on the measure, including ease of use, usefulness and anything that may be lacking from a clinician or consumer perspective when considering social inclusion and personal recovery. This proof of concept work is seen as a necessary step in the development of the measure prior to larger and more detailed field testing.

During February – March 2013, AMHOCN TSD has been undertaking a wider trial of the LCQ across services in QLD, NSW, VIC, SA and WA. 10 mental health services are participating. This pilot trial will provide further information about the use of the measure in practice and will give the opportunity for additional consumer feedback on its use and relevance.

Also during the first half of 2013, AMHOCN TSD will be undertaking work to understand the test-retest reliability of the LCQ. Consumers in NSW and VIC are being invited to participate. For information on the test-retest reliability trial, please click on the following link: Living in the Community Questionnaire Test Retest Reliability Project

We will keep you updated on the development process for the LCQ via our AMHOCN website. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact: Tim Coombs or Rosemary Dickson.

Carer Experiences of Care Project

Australia, like many other western countries, has increasingly recognised the need for carer involvement in the development and delivery of mental health services, and this had been reflected in changing mental healthcare policy. The Fourth National Mental Health Plan includes the development of consumer and carer experiences and perceptions of care as a priority quality improvement initiative. The National Mental Health Services Standards and Implementation guidelines reflect these statements and strongly support consumer and carer involvement in development, planning, delivery and evaluation of mental health services. Currently, however, there is no nationally consistent tool for measuring carer experiences of mental health service provision across Australia.

The Mental Health Information Strategy SubCommittee (MHISS) agreed that a carer experiences measure was a priority area for information development and AMHOCN was asked to support an initiative to progress this activity. A Technical Advisory Group was established and AMHOCN undertook a literature review which aimed to inform the selection of an existing or, if required, development of a new draft instrument. Using a set of hierarchical criteria, which included alignment with the carer standard of the National Mental Health Standards, the literature review identified the Victorian Consumer and Carer Experiences Questionnaires (C&CEQ) – Carer Version as having potential for trialling but also requiring additional modification.

Further development work has occurred on the measure and AMHOCN have undertaken a series of consultations in various jurisdictions to obtain feedback on the items and areas covered by the measure e.g. do the questions ask about the key issues in carers experiences of mental health services? Are there key issues not covered?

For further information about the project, please do not hesitate to contact Rosemary Dickson, AMHOCN Network Coordinator or by ph: 02 9840 3833.

Community Managed Organisations Outcome Measures Project

AMHOCN has collaborated with Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA) on a project focussed on the use of outcome measures in mental health related community managed organisations (CMOs) across Australia.

The project includes:

  1. a literature review that will determine what instruments for measuring mental health consumer outcomes have been developed that are relevant to the range of service types provided by Australian community managed mental health services and which might show the best potential for use across the sector;

  2. a scoping survey to determine current use of outcome measures and existing supporting infrastructure in the Australian mental health CMO sector; and

  3. a working group that will discuss and provide advice on the findings of the literature review and CMHA’s scoping exercise.

A final report has been developed which outlines recommendations on measures that have the most potential for use in Australia across the various mental health CMO service types and identifies information infrastructure development issues that would need to be considered to introduce reporting of consumer outcomes. The National Community Managed Organisation Outcome Measures Final Report is now available for download (PDF, 3.3mb).

To support this report, AMHOCN, in collaboration with CMHA, has been tasked with developing a guidebook for the CMO sector that will describe recommendations on what CMOs can measure, how they can implement routine outcome measurement, data collection protocols and information infrastructure and training considerations.

Should you require any information on this project, please do not hesitate to contact Tim Coombs, Manager, AMHOCN Training and Service Development, (telephone 0409 076 442) or Tully Rosen, Senior Policy Officer, MHCC (telephone (02) 9555 8388). Information about the project can also be viewed on the CMHA website.


During 2006 – 2008, AMHOCN facilitated the National Mental Health Benchmarking Project and continue to facilitate benchmarking activities for Forensic Mental Health Services Benchmarking across Australia.

Clinical Prompts Project

During late 2007 – early 2008, AMHOCN undertook a project to establish the feasibility of linking clinical prompts to scores on the NOCC routine outcome measures; and the subsequent development of a library of clinical prompts to be potentially incorporated into the Web Decision Support Tool (wDST), or other information systems. Through a process of consultation with clinical reference groups, consumers and carers, eight sets of prompts linked to the NOCC measures in differing ways were developed, creating a matrix of prompts when combined. The primary focus of the prompts is to assist the supervision of junior mental health clinicians, but with recognition of a significant potential wider group of users including consumers and carers. Download the Clinical Prompts Final Report.

Carer Outcomes Measures Project

During late 2007 – early 2008, AMHOCN undertook a project which involved a scoping exercise, designed to explore the context within which carer outcome measurement might be introduced and to identify any candidate instruments. The project focused on carers of adults with mental illness (not children/adolescents or older persons). It examined instruments that consider carer burden, wellbeing and need – but did not focus on instruments that elicit carers’ perspectives of consumers’ symptomatology and level of functioning. An extensive literature review and a broad consultation process assisted in the identification of two instruments that might serve the purpose of routine carer outcome measurement with some modification. However, the introduction of an instrument to routinely measure outcomes for carers was seen as neither practical nor feasible at this time, and should only occur in the context of implementing a range of initiatives designed to improve carer outcomes. The carer-specific standard in the revised National Standards for Mental Health Services was highlighted as a context for these efforts. Download the project’s report: Carer outcome measurement in mental health services: Scoping the field (PDF, 620kb).