NovoPsych’s assessment library has been updated with the gold-standard measure for the impact disability is having on a person’s daily functioning. The World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS 2.0) may be especially helpful in the context of assessments related to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and can provide a comprehensive measure of functional impacts. The WHODAS is a practical, generic assessment instrument that can measure health and disability at population level or in clinical practice.
- The self-report version, which can be completed by individuals 18 years of age and over.
- The proxy version, which can be completed by a relative, carer, or friend.
- The interviewer version, which can be completed by a clinician.
WHODAS captures the level of functioning in six domains of life:
- Cognition – understanding and communicating
- Mobility – moving and getting around
- Self-care – attending to one’s hygiene, dressing, eating and staying alone
- Getting along – interacting with other people
- Life activities – domestic responsibilities, leisure, work and school
- Participation – joining in community activities, participating in society
Disability is a major health issue. When global assessments are made for burden of disease, more than half of the burden of premature mortality is due to overall disability. People generally seek psychological services because a disease makes it difficult for them to do what they used to do beforehand (i.e. because they are disabled) rather than because they have a disease. As outlined by the World Health Organisation (WHO, 2010), diagnosis and assessment of disability is valuable because it can predict the factors that medical diagnosis alone fails to predict; these include:
- service needs – What are the patient’s needs?
- level of care – Should the patient be in primary care, specialty care, rehabilitation or another setting?
- outcome of the condition – What will the prognosis be?
- length of hospitalisation – How long will the patient stay as an inpatient?
- receipt of disability benefits – Will the patient receive any funding?
- work performance – Will the patient return to work and perform as before?
- social integration – Will the patient return to the community and perform as before?
Disability assessment is thus useful for client care, especially in the context of NDIS funding applications, in terms of:
- identifying needs
- matching treatments and interventions
- measuring outcomes and effectiveness
- setting priorities
- allocating resources
WHODAS provides a common metric of the impact of any health condition in terms of functioning. Being a generic measure, the instrument does not target a specific disease – it can thus be used to compare disability due to different diseases. WHODAS also makes it possible to design and monitor the impact of health and health-related interventions. The instrument has proven useful for assessing health and disability levels in the general population and in specific groups (e.g. people with a range of different mental and physical conditions). Furthermore, WHODAS makes it easier to design health and health related interventions, and to monitor their impact.