Social climate (ward atmosphere) affects numerous treatment outcomes. The most commonly used measure is the Essen Climate Evaluation Schema (EssenCES) (Schalast et al., 2008). Though studies have investigated the psychometric properties of EssenCES in intellectual disability populations, few have focused on the clinical utility, or accessibility of the measure. The purpose of this paper is to examine clinician's experiences of using this measure with this population.
Clinicians experienced in administering EssenCES with forensic intellectual disability patients completed an open-ended questionnaire, which sought qualitative data on their experiences of using EssenCES with this population. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
A number of issues were raised regarding use of EssenCES with patients with intellectual disability. Four overarching themes arose: Understanding of Language, Commenting on Others, Understanding of Likert Scale, and Scale Positives and Adaptation. Clinicians felt certain items were not uniformly understood by all patients, particularly those that incorporated abstract concepts, double negatives, or complex language.
Results suggest forensic intellectual disability patients vary in their ability to understand EssenCES items. This resulted in significant further explanation by the administering clinician, a practice which raised concern regarding reliability. Results provide preliminary evidence to indicate EssenCES use requires further consideration in intellectual disability services, or adaptation for this client group.
Chester, V., McCathie, J., Quinn, M., Ryan, L., Popple, J., Loveridge, C. and Spall, J. (2015), "Clinician experiences of administering the Essen Climate Evaluation Schema (EssenCES) in a forensic intellectual disability service", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 70-78. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-06-2014-0024
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