Evaluation of a training program to improve clinicians' assessment of patient stability Academic Article uri icon


  • INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: Public clinics in New South Wales (NSW), Australia play a central role in inducting and stabilising opioid dependent clients onto treatment before transfer to a community pharmacy. Clinical assessment of stability is a vital skill in ensuring that clients are appropriately and effectively transferred. A two-hour clinical training program was delivered to staff at 31 public clinics, that aimed to improve staff confidence in assessing client stability, and skills in negotiating the transfer of clients to community pharmacies. DESIGN AND METHODS: Pre- and post-training evaluation was conducted examining self-ratings of confidence and ability in the assessment of client stability, and the perceived utility of a clinical algorithm to improve assessments. Follow-up was conducted 3 to 6 months post-training assessing individual and clinic level changes in clinical practice. RESULTS: 205 staff completed pre- and post-training questionnaires. Staff demonstrated a moderate level of self-reported baseline knowledge and skills in assessing client stability (mean = 6.5; 1 = poor; 10 = excellent) that improved when re-assessed following the training (mean = 8.0). 76 staff responded to the follow-up questionnaire. > or = 75% reported some level of improvement in their approach to clinical practice regarding stability assessment, and 59% reported being more effective in identifying clients appropriate for community pharmacy transfer. Of 19 public clinics, 14 reported an increased focus on stability assessment. Nine clinics reported barriers to achieving changes in clinical practice. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: This evaluation demonstrates that it is possible to implement a targeted clinical training package to staff that translates into positive changes in clinical practice.

publication date

  • July 1, 2009