The Adult Needs and Strengths Assessment is a multipurpose tool developed for adult behavioral health services. It is intended to prevent duplicate assessments by multiple parties, decrease unnecessary psychological testing, aid in identifying placement and treatment needs, and inform case planning decisions. Its assessments help support decision making, including level of care and service planning, to facilitate quality improvement initiatives, and to allow for outcomes monitoring.
The required use of an internationally recognized assessment instruments, provides a comprehensive multi-purpose tool developed for mental health services to support decision making, including selection of the level of care, recovery or treatment planning, quality improvement initiatives, and monitoring of service outcomes. The assessment tool is used to communicate the shared vision throughout the system, elevating the individual and family voice along the continuum of care. The uniform assessment serves as the psychosocial assessment, as well as a trauma screening and suicide screening tool, for all people entering community mental health services in Texas. In addition, the uniform assessment is used to determine authorization for community mental health services and the appropriate level of care recommended under Texas Resiliency and Recovery services. An array of evidence-based practices and promising practices can be personalized in each level of care to meet the individual and family needs and build upon the unique strengths of each person. Services and supports provided via the TRR model are expected to result in improved behavioral and emotional functioning.
Six Key Principles of the ANSA/Communimetrics Tool
- Items were selected because they are each relevant to service and treatment planning. An item exists because it might lead you down a different pathway in terms of planning actions.
- Each item uses a four-level rating system. Those levels are designed to translate immediately into action levels. Different action levels exist for needs and strengths.
- Rating should describe the person not the individual in services. The assessment should identify what is important to the person, and what is important for the person.
- The ratings are generally collaborative. In other words this is a descriptive tool including the person assessed input. It is about the ‘what’ not the ‘why’. Only two items, Adjustment to Trauma and Social Behavior, have any cause-effect conclusions.
- A 30-day window is used for ratings in order to ensure assessments stay ‘fresh’ and relevant to the individual present circumstances. However, the action levels can be used to over-ride the 30-day rating period. There is an expectation that success is possible – it’s a “chance to get past your past.”
- Consider culture and development before establishing an action level. Cultural sensitivity involves considering whether cultural factors are influencing the expression of needs and strengths. Developmental age is part of cultural consideration.
Why the ANSA?
The ANSA has received positive feedback by recipients, family members, providers, and other partners in the services system because it is a collaborative process and doesn’t necessarily require scoring in order to be meaningful to a person and their family. The way the ANSA works is that each item suggests different pathways for recovery treatment. There are four levels of each item with anchored definitions; however, these definitions are designed to translate into the following action levels and be scored accordingly (separate for needs and strengths):
0 = No evidence
1 = Watchful waiting/prevention
2 = Action
3 = Immediate/Intensive Action
0 = Centerpiece strength
1 = Strength that you can use in planning
2 = Identified-strength-must be built
3 = No strength identified