The Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT)

Please note: the full ASCOT website is at www.pssru.ac.uk/ascot/.

Background

The increased policy emphasis on outcomes is reflected in Outcomes Frameworks for the NHS, public health and social care. In social care, the key outcome is social care‐related quality of life (SCRQoL), reflected in the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF), using the items that form the basis for the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT) measure. These items are included in the annual Adult Social Care Survey (ASCS) which is conducted annually by local councils.

ASCOT was developed through a series of studies funded by the Department of Health and HM Treasury. The toolkit provides a variety of innovative approaches to identifying and addressing the particular challenges of measuring outcomes in social care. The measure itself is preference weighted to reflect the relative importance of different aspects of outcome, and anchored, with final scores anchored to 1 (the ideal state) and 0 (being dead), so it can be related to time. This provides the basis for a social care equivalent of the influential quality adjusted life year (QALY) used in health economics.

Aims

The aims of the project are to support the use of ASCOT by a variety of users, including local councils, social care providers and researchers. The objectives are to:

  • Develop and support a website which provides a variety of methods for establishing outcomes of social care
  • Identify priorities for future developments and, where appropriate, seek additional funding to address these
  • Promote and monitor the use of ASCOT nationally and internationally
  • Seek opportunities to further test the validity and reliability of the ASCOT measure
  • Build up a body of knowledge and understanding that facilitates use and value of the measure
  • Feed into other projects that are using ASCOT
  • Respond flexibly to emerging needs
  • Develop approaches to support the wider applicability of outcome‐focused approaches to provision and quality assurance

Methods

The ASCOT website (www.pssru.ac.uk/ascot) first went live in June 2010 and since then a wide variety of people and organisations have registered their interest. Support is provided through the analyses of data from previous projects and emerging data from the ASCS, which provide the basis for topic‐focused papers on validity, reliability, benchmarking, preferences and so on, and by:

  • Responding to queries and supporting the website
  • Holding workshops
  • Providing training on observation‐based methods

Timing and Outputs

The project is ongoing during the length of the QORU contract (January 2011‐December 2015).

Research Team

Ann Netten, Ann Marie Towers, Nick Smith, Juliette Malley