What is meant by outcome inevitably varies depending on the context and scope of what is under consideration. This review discusses the measurement of outcome for individuals and their carers for research purposes, particularly the type of research which evaluates the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of social care for adults and which has implications for social care practice.
The review discusses what is meant by outcome in social care, presenting a model that describes different ‘types’ of outcome and how these are related to one another. Ultimately the objective is improving people’s quality of life, and the review defines ‘social care-related quality of life’ as key to reflecting the impact of services.
Some of the important challenges in measuring outcome in social care are identified: attribution, adaptation, reflecting the relative importance of the diverse aspects of quality of life and mental capacity and communication difficulties.
The review then briefly describes practical approaches to measurement and concludes by making a number of recommendations for measuring outcomes in practice and the need for further methodological development.