National Clinical Assessment Framework for Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care (OOHC) - March 2011

2.6 Practitioner to complete assessments

Page last updated: 05 December 2011

The effective implementation of the Framework will require the participation of a range of practitioners working individually or in multi-disciplinary teams.

Noting that significant workforce barriers exist to the prescription of a particular health discipline to compete each of the assessments, the Framework recognises that the role of clinicians, health workers and other professionals will be determined by staff competency and availability in any given setting (e.g. metropolitan versus rural and remote areas) according to the tasks to be performed.

The following key considerations are relevant to the selection of practitioners to complete assessments:

  • The practitioner should have subject specific clinical expertise, interest and cultural competency to complete assessments.
  • The initial assessment should establish the primary care relationship to ensure continuity of care maintenance through subsequent interactions with the health system.

Preliminary Health Check

The Preliminary Health Check should be completed by a primary care practitioner (e.g. GP, Nurse Practitioner, Child and Family Health Nurse or other specialty nurse or Aboriginal Health Worker) - ideally one known to the child for continuity of care - with subsequent follow-up by a GP or paediatrician, where required.

Comprehensive Health and Developmental Assessment

The Comprehensive Health and Developmental Assessment and ongoing assessments should be established, directed and overseen by a lead clinician, involving multi disciplinary teams according to the specific needs of the individual child or young person.

Ongoing monitoring and assessment

Where relevant, referrals should be made for specific assessment or ongoing treatment by:
  • Paediatricians
  • Allied Health Professionals, including Speech Pathologists, Dieticians, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Audiologists
  • Dental Health Practitioners
  • Psychologists/Psychiatrists/Mental Health Nurses
  • Drug and Alcohol Counsellors
  • Other health professionals as appropriate.
Ideally a paediatrician should be involved in the development and implementation of a Health Management Plan (see below) and at a minimum each child or young person in OOHC should be seen by or have their Health Management Plan reviewed by a paediatrician at least once every two years.

The Framework recognises that in rural and remote settings there may be less immediate access to paediatricians and other health care professionals. Geographic isolation should not compromise effective assessment and treatment and in each case the responsible Care Coordinator (Health) should plan for and enable access to assessments and appropriate treatment services according to need.