HOW TO USE HEALTH OUTCOME QUESTIONNAIRES

Health QuestionnairesBENEFITS:

1) QUANTIFY THE SEVERITY OF YOUR SYMPTOMS AND DYSFUNCTION…

You may want help with improving what you perceive to be a threat to your lifestyle, your health and maybe even your lifespan.

With health outcome questionnaires you have the ability to cover the bases, for a wide range of health conditions, and a means to record and codify where you are at when you first present for help. Each questionnaire has questions specific to that complaint making it simple to record a thorough “history” without much effort – you can even fill out the questions yourself, or, you can work through the sheet with your health care provider.

Implementation Tips:

  • Utilise the general health questionnaire as an overview; then select the more specific complaint questionnaire/s as you see fit, depending on your primary health goals.
  • When you are booked in with your health care provider, fill out the forms before seeing them and then you can give them a concise record of where you are at

2) HAVE A SEVERITY RATING TOOL TO DEMONSTRATE CHANGE AFTER PERSISTING WITH A TREATMENT OR LIFESTYLE APPROACH FOR SOME TIME (YOUR RE-EXAM): DON’T RELY ON YOUR MEMORY TO MEASURE WHETHER YOUR PROGRAM IS WORKING…

People are forgetful, especially when it comes to pain. You might be twisted over and in agony at one point in time, and willing to make all sorts of promises about how you will never let yourself get into this state again. And then three weeks later you’re still not fixed, but you are much better – but how much better are you, and how close to your goals are you getting? Or, you might be feeling fine again, and quickly forget about those commitments to prevention, fitness, weight loss and wellbeing that you made in that weakened state – you need to be reminded that you don’t want to go back there again!

You can do this with health questionnaires – when you complete a review of the questionnaire after the completion of your initial care period, you can show how each aspect of the problem has improved, and by how much.

Implementation Tips:

  • Set a date for your review when you first complete the questionnaire – 4, 6 or 8 weeks.
  • Learn how to score the sheet so you can get more involved with reviewing your progress.

3) HAVE AN IMPARTIAL MEASURE OF YOUR PROGRESS TO HELP DECIDE IF YOUR PROGRAM IS WORKING…

Some people try to jump ship before they have arrived at their agreed destination; Some resent paying the fare for the journey if they aren’t sure if it is taking them to their destination; and some just fail to comprehend the healing timeline – that it is gradual and not always as high-speed as they would like; and others deny the severity and chronicity of their own health status. If you have any of these doubts surfacing, you can always pull out a new questionnaire and say, alright, let’s see what’s happening. Usually what you find is you get a shock as to how far you really have come, but secondly you usually get a reminder of the fact that you aren’t done yet.

Implementation Tips:

  • First and foremost remember that you are participating in a healing “process” and not a healing “event”, and remind yourself that you will be having a review in the not too distant future.
  • IF, you have had sufficient care or time to expect some positive change, AND you yourself are concerned whether significant changes are happening; then complete a review questionnaire.
  • It is critical that you follow your health care provider’s recommendations as closely as possible, to maximise your healing and to get the best results based on their experience and expertise.

THE HISTORY:

Some time ago I decided that I needed a folio of outcome questionnaires, on a wide range of health concerns that I could pull out of my drawer when the client with the matching health concern presented. Sound simple? I was reassured by academics that many such outcome tools already existed. This is true but there are three major problems with most of these…

  • Many are too limited from a clinician’s point of view: I didn’t just want a tool that could measure a couple of symptoms, or a limited number of daily functions. I wanted a tool that actually documented the major “real-life” symptoms and dysfunctions of each health concern.
  • Some seem quite irrelevant and inadequate from a Chiropractic and natural health point of view: For example a headache questionnaire that doesn’t even ask any questions about related spinal pain or neck dysfunction is missing a key component.
  • Most are not actually as freely accessible to a private practitioner as one would hope! Some even demand fees payable for each individual use of the questionnaire – Lennon and McCartney must have taught the academics how to accumulate a passive income?

So, I sat down and invented my first outcome questionnaire – the ADHD quiz. Since then I have been gradually developing questionnaires on a wide range of health issues. NOW YOU CAN ENJOY THE PERSONAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF THESE SIMPLE TOOLS.

So far I have designed thirty five questionnaires on the following topics: Ability To Work, ADHD, Allergies, Anxiety, Arthritis, Asperger’s Syndrome, Asthma, Autism, Baby’s Health, Basic Daily Living, Carpal Tunnel, Cerebral Palsy, Child's Health, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Digestive System, Epilepsy, Foot /Ankle, Fertility, Headache and Migraine, Health, Immune System, Jaw, Knee, Low Back/Sciatica, Menopause, Mid-Back, Multiple Sclerosis, Neck, Parkinson’s, Pre Menstrual Syndrome, Shoulder, Sleep, Smokers and Vertigo.

These come in printable (.PDF) format.

We are repeatedly being told that we are in the evidence-based health care era. My argument with this trend is that “evidence-based practice” should not just be doing what has already been peer-reviewed and published. I contend that it is actually having methodologies to gather and demonstrate objective “evidence” that you are changing what you hope to be changing. Proof what you are doing is working – or not.

These questionnaires have been specifically designed with a balance between “feeling and function” and do not focus on symptoms alone. They also quantify severity and regularity which most other questionnaires fail to differentiate. In fact these questionnaires open up whole new areas of QUALITY OF LIFE and HEALTH OPTIMISATION.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Nearly all of the health outcome questionnaires follow the same format and scoring system making it simple to complete and easy and fast for you to rate, analyse and record. The only questionnaires which deviate from this format are the Ability to Work and Basic Daily Living questionnaires which look and work the same but instead of investigating regularity and severity they analyse whether the activity is impeded and the degree of associated discomfort. The other questionnaires which deviate from the norm are the fertility and smoker questionnaires – the intended outcome for each being obvious: The client falls pregnant, or the client ceases to smoke respectively.

1) HOW TO COMPLETE…

These questionnaires are designed to be very user friendly and quick and easy to complete. For each questionnaire, you read the description and then tick the regularity and severity box which you feel best describes your current situation. Most of the questionnaires are double-sided so remember complete both sides, and most of the questionnaires have twenty five questions. I always tell my clients not to think and analyse too much, but just read the statement, then tick the two boxes which feel right at the time.

2) HOW TO SCORE…

Again these tools are aimed to be simple. A tick in never and none equals a score of zero each; a tick in rarely and mild equals a score of one each; A tick in sometimes and moderate equals a score of two each; A tick in often and severe equals a score of three each; A tick in always and unbearable equals a score of four each.  Simply add up the scores in the regularity and then severity columns and then add the two scores together. This gives you an overall rating system but ultimately, this has real power when filled out by the same person in the future.

3) READING BETWEEN THE NUMBERS…

It is also important to look at which questions you have rated as the worst so you can focus on these issues as the primary motivators for change and improvement in your plan of action.

4) THE BIGGER PICTURE…

It has been a conscious intent of these questionnaires to not only ask symptomatic questions. Built into each questionnaire are questions to assess how your emotional, mental, social and in some cases even spiritual state is being impacted. This slant is there for two very important reasons:

  • Even physical pain can impact on these domains and even if all you do is improve your pain then these other domains will improve.
  • These components can impinge on recovery time, prognosis and chances of recurrence.

DISCLAIMER:

These tools are not designed or intended for use as diagnostic tools. Regardless of the results of these questionnaires it is recommend that you consult a registered primary care health professional who can assist you with diagnosis and management of your health concern. No responsibility is taken for any actions that you may choose to take after completing any of these tools as no therapeutic recommendations are expressed or implied. Any concerns, questions or fears that should arise after completing these questionnaires should be discussed with your health care provider.

 

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