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Keywords:

  • clinical utility;
  • HOME Inventory;
  • interview study;
  • qualitative content analysis;
  • social work assessment;
  • social work practice

ABSTRACT

Clinical utility of an assessment instrument can provide important information about the potential value of that instrument when used in practice. The aim of this study was to describe social work practitioners' experiences of the clinical utility of a Swedish version of the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME) Inventory. Because knowledge of clinical utility in this area is scarce, a qualitative method based on semi-structured interviews was used to gain a deeper understanding of the phenomenon. Data were collected through 16 interviews and then analysed by qualitative manifest content analysis. The analysis yielded five categories: improves quality of child protection investigations, supports practitioners, HOME has drawbacks and difficulties, certain issues are important for future applications and basic conditions are crucial. The findings supported the clinical utility of the HOME Inventory though some critical issues have to be addressed, especially concerning the category basic conditions are crucial. A thorough education, the possibility to practice activities related to the administration of the method and support from management were found to be essential. Replication and further studies are needed in the Swedish context to confirm the applicability of the HOME Inventory.