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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2001 Jun;35(3):377-81.

Measuring mental health outcomes in a private psychiatric clinic: Health of the Nation Outcome Scales and Medical Outcomes Short Form SF-36.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia.



This study reports on data collected from the routine use of the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (HoNOS) and the Medical Outcomes Short Form (SF-36). Three main aims were addressed in using these measures: (i) to establish patient disability levels; (ii) to determine the level of treatment effectiveness; and (iii) to explore the ability of these instruments to predict length of stay and mood change.


The clinician-rate HoNOS and the patient-rated SF-36 were included in the assessment battery, at admission and discharge, of consecutive inpatients (n = 754) at one private psychiatric facility over a 2-year period.


The sample, on admission, was comparable in illness severity to levels reported at other Australian private psychiatric facilities. Treatment was shown to be effective, and the degree of changes in HoNOS ratings compared favourably with other private psychiatric facilities. Certain factors underlying the structure of the HoNOS and the SF-36 only weakly predicted length of stay and changes in depression and anxiety levels.


The HoNOS and the SF-36 provided valid and reliable data on patient function, with the HoNOS being most sensitive to treatment change. However, neither instrument proved useful in predicting length of stay or levels of depression and anxiety at discharge.

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