The Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) for Mental Healthcare.
A nationally consistent and evidence-based approach to mental health referral.
What is the IAR-DST?
The Australian Government, through the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, is expanding and implementing the Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR) tool in primary care. The IAR Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) is a decision-making framework guided by practitioner assessment and clinical judgement.
The IAR-DST is used to estimate or confirm the mental health response a person requires, and in doing so, aims to achieve the least burdensome intervention that is most likely to lead to the most significant clinical gain.
The IAR-DST and IAR Guidance is being implemented nationwide and sector-wide throughout Commonwealth-funded mental health services and beyond. With widespread use, we create an environment with a shared framework and consistent language to communicate about service needs.
How does the IAR-DST work?
The IAR-DST assessment is undertaken using eight initial assessment domains that are used to match clients to one of five appropriate levels of care. The 8 domains help to distil essential assessment information and identify key signals (i.e. red flags) that are critical for decision making.
The 8 initial assessment domains that are used to match clients to one of five appropriate levels of care.
Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR) Snapshot
The IAR-DST is a support tool and does not replace your clinical judgement.
The IAR-DST can help you:
- Explore essential information during a mental health assessment and review critical information that is essential for decision making.
- Estimate or confirm the mental health treatment needs of the patient.
- Communicate this treatment need with others in the sector – reducing the frustration that might occur when referring to mental health services.
- Help you to document the needs of the patient across 8 assessment domains reducing medico-legal risks associated with difficulty documenting decision-making in mental healthcare.
For an introduction and orientation to stepped care, the initial assessment and referral process, and the decision support tool, please register for training.
Please register for training via the Training Schedule below:
- IAR-DST online tool
- IAR Snapshot
- IAR-DST National Training Schedule
- Primary Health Networks mental health care guidance – initial assessment and referral for mental health care
More information & Support
Please contact Erin Hollier at WNSW PHN for more information or support.
0499 936 177