Over the last year or so I've come across a lot of people talking about developing tools for monitoring 'Outcomes' in needle & syringe programmes (NSP), but I've yet to see one that actually manages to work in real life. So I've been developing a tool for NSPs that may be a solution.
OK I'm hoping that this is stating the obvious, but NSP has always been about running a 'low threshold' service. Supply of sterile injecting equipment should never be dependant on completion of this or any other tool, but instead these tools should be something workers encourage injectors to engage with.
The tool itself is a single page based on a mind-map. This includes areas of discussion around the main topics for NSP (overdose, injecting injury etc) as well as other topics that are often discussed in NSP but that workers rarely ever document (education, housing, employment). Recording of these discussion and related outcomes are increasingly important when it comes to talking to commissioners and maintaining funding.
This tool has been written to be easy and intuitive to use, but still be robust enough to enable workers to have in-depth conversations and keep track of outcomes and work done.
What makes this different from other NSP tools I've come across is that this doesn't just record the risk factors an injector has, but also keeps track of protective factors.
UPDATE: There is now also a Steroid specific version of the Outcomes tool.
As with all downloads on the site this has extensive worker notes that explain the whole process. I've also included a detailed example of how to 'score' the sheet and a tracking tool to monitor each individuals scores.
This is of course a brand new tool and part of the reason for putting it up on the site is to find out if its something that can work. So please take a look, give it a go.
Nigel Brunsdon is the owner of Injecting Advice.com. He's been working in harm reduction since the 1990's, although he's previously a frontline needle programme worker he now spends most of his time developing online resources for drugs workers and users.