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Overview of outcome measurement for adults using social care services and support (Methods review 6)

This review discusses the measurement of outcome for individuals and their carers for research purposes, particularly the type of research which evaluates the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of social care for adults and which has implications for social care practice. It discusses what is meant by outcome in social care, presenting a model that describes different ‘types’ of outcome and how these are related to one another.

Some of the important challenges in measuring outcome in social care are identified: attribution, adaptation, reflecting the relative importance of the diverse aspects of quality of life and mental capacity and communication difficulties. The review then briefly describes practical approaches to measurement and concludes by making a number of recommendations for measuring outcomes in practice and the need for further methodological development.

Ann Netten
NIHR School for Social Care Research