Here at Innovative Rehab we’re really passionate about the benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach.

We consider what we do as ‘innovative’ because, we embrace knowledge from a range of disciplines to get a full understanding of clinical barriers –something that we think provides measurable, meaningful and lasting results.

My background is in Clinical Psychology, so after working with countless chronic pain patients over the years, I’ve seen first-hand how much a patient’s mental and emotional state can impact on their treatment; not just on their physical recovery but also on their experience of pain and on their ability to fully engage in treatment.

If you’re an allied health clinician dealing with a patient that you suspect may be suffering from anxiety or depression there are some really useful screening tools that you can easily incorporate into your repertoire – no matter what your discipline.

One of the most useful is the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS).  Developed by researchers at the University of New South Wales, the DASS is a 21- or 42- item questionnaire that includes three self-report scales designed to measure the negative impact of the emotional states of depression, anxiety and stress.  It is currently Australia’s most widely-used screening tool – and is particularly useful for chronic pain because it avoids questions about the physical aspects of emotional distress (such as aches and pains) which are common to all pain patients.

Conveniently, the DASS has been translated into 35 different languages.  

It’s worth noting that western mental health concepts don’t adequately fit with every culture – and that a proper assessment of anxiety and depression should always be conducted by an experienced clinician (usually a Psychologist) in conjunction with other information sources.  However, the DASS has excellent potential to alert allied health professionals to presence of psychological distress and the need for possible Psych referral to help with treatment outcomes.

We’d love to know what you think.  Are you already using the DASS in your clinical practice?  If so, let us know how it is working out.

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