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Keywords:

  • Needs assessment;
  • outcome evaluation;
  • patient characteristics;
  • referral;
  • triage

ABSTRACT

Aims  To present and evaluate a measurement tool for assessing characteristics of people with drug and/or alcohol problems for triage and evaluation in treatment. Measurements in the Addictions for Triage and Evaluation (MATE) is composed of 10 modules, selected on the basis of a detailed set of specifications. Conceptually, the MATE was constructed according to the ICD and International Classification of Functioning (ICF) in the World Health Organization (WHO) classification system. Two of the ICF-related modules were newly designed.

Design  Monitoring feasibility and field-testing in a treatment-seeking population with researcher and clinician-administered test–retest interviews, construct validation with related instruments and evaluation of the dimensional structure of the ICF-related modules.

Setting  The research was conducted in a large, regional substance abuse treatment centre in the Netherlands and at the Municipal Health Service of Amsterdam.

Participants  A total of 945 treatment-seeking patients were recruited during routine intakes, 159 of whom were interviewed twice; 32 problem drug users were also recruited from the Amsterdam cohort studies among problem drug users.

Findings  Completion time was reasonably short, and there were relatively few missing data. The factor structure of the ICF-related modules revealed a three-factor model with an acceptable fit. Inter-rater reliability ranged between 0.75 and 0.92 and was satisfactory, but interviewer reliability ranged between 0.34 and 0.73, indicating that some of subscales need to be improved. Concurrent validity was indicated by significant correlations (>0.50) between the ICF-related modules and the WHO Disability Assessment Schedule II (WHODAS II) and WHO Quality of Life brief version (WHOQOL-BREF).

Conclusions  The MATE can be used to allocate patients to substance abuse treatment. Because it is a comprehensive but flexible measurement tool that is also practical to use, the MATE is well suited for use in a heterogeneous population.