12 October 2023

Are Questionnaires Fit for Purpose? New Project Aims to Adapt New Approach in Autism Service

By Dr. Guy Ansah-Palmer (Locum Specialty Doctor in Aldgate and Moorgate Wards) with contribution from William Diaz (Improvement Advisor) 


All service users on Aldgate Ward have a diagnosis of autism as well as, in some cases, comorbid mental illness. It was recently highlighted that the standardised questionnaires (Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWS), the Simple Physical Activity Questionnaire (SIMPAQ) and the Glasgow Antipsychotic Side-Effect Scale (GASS) used across the site for all service users are framed/worded in a way that is not accessible to our neurodiverse service users and this can result in inaccurate reporting of symptoms which could affect care, treatment, and wellbeing. 


By using a Quality Improvement approach, we hope to adapt the questionnaires to be more accessible and appropriate to our service users which may be something that could be transferred to similar inpatient or community teams. These questionnaires will help to inform our practice, direct care plans and tailor interventions. 


How will we know that a change is an improvement?  

We will assess whether the questionnaire scores match with how the service users are presenting; how well the service users participate and engage with the questionnaires will indicate the effect of the adaptations. 

What next? 

The team is currently meeting weekly with the goal to gather as much information about the problem. Next step will be to establish a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely) aim and driver diagram. The project lead and coach are also both starting their QI training this month on the Improvement Leaders’ Programme and the Improvement Coaches’ Programme. 

Figure 1. (Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWS) questionnaire

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