Developing Practice Guidelines for Social Work Intervention

Developing Practice Guidelines for Social Work Intervention: Issues, Methods, and Research Agenda

Aaron Rosen
Enola K. Proctor
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/rose12310
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  • Book Info
    Developing Practice Guidelines for Social Work Intervention
    Book Description:

    This book bridges the gap between social work knowledge and empirically based practice. Although there is a significant need for the use of empirically tested and verified knowledge in social work practice, the empirical basis of support is nearly absent from practitioners'considerations as they make clinical decisions in routine practice. The authors advocate the development of readily available, accessible, and professionally sanctioned practice guidelines for use by practitioners, a necessity in the age of managed care and demands for greater accountability, effectiveness, and efficiency in practice. This book features a much-needed discussion of racial and ethnic differentials in relation to practice guidelines and on the relationship between practice guidelines and different aspects of service delivery.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50898-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Aaron Rosen and Enola K. Proctor
  4. 1 PRACTICE GUIDELINES AND THE CHALLENGE OF EFFECTIVE PRACTICE
    (pp. 1-14)
    AARON ROSEN and ENOLA K. PROCTOR

    This book addresses what we believe is the most basic challenge facing the profession of social work—ensuring the effectiveness of social work practice. This complex and multifaceted task has two primary dimensions: (1) ensuring the availability of tested knowledge that is relevant to and can inform effective practice and (2) ensuring that social work practitioners have access to, understand, and properly use that knowledge in their work. This book examines these two dimensions through the concept of practice guidelines.

    Practice guidelines, which have been the subject of considerable developmental work in allied professions, are also being discussed with increasing...

  5. PART I Precursors of Guidelines:: Intervention Research and Evidence-Based Practice
    • 2 INTERVENTION RESEARCH IN SOCIAL WORK: A BASIS FOR EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE AND PRACTICE GUIDELINES
      (pp. 17-36)
      MARK W. FRASER

      In 1949 seventy-three clinicians gathered at Regents Hall in Boulder, Colorado, to discuss training for practice in psychology. The concept of the “scientist-practitioner” emerged from this conference. It consisted of the idea that practice should be founded on research and that training for practice should be based on significant exposure to social science methods plus content on human development and social intervention (Raimy 1950). Although the use of research to guide practice was not a new concept in social work (for a review, see Fraser, Jenson, and Lewis 1993), the ideas from the Boulder Conference influenced a generation of postwar...

    • 3 EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE: IMPLICATIONS FOR KNOWLEDGE DEVELOPMENT AND USE IN SOCIAL WORK
      (pp. 37-58)
      EILEEN GAMBRILL

      Professions claim special knowledge and skills to help clients achieve certain ends. The question “What is knowledge?” has been of concern to philosophers throughout the ages. Two developments, evidence-based practice (EBP) and the practice guidelines movement, both of which originated outside of social work, highlight the importance of thinking carefully about what knowledge is, how it can be gained, how it should be used, and what the implications of different views are for clients, professionals, researchers, and taxpayers. This chapter focuses on contributions of EBP in helping practitioners to enhance quality of services and to honor ethical obligations to clients...

    • 4 EMPIRICAL FOUNDATIONS FOR PRACTICE GUIDELINES IN CURRENT SOCIAL WORK KNOWLEDGE
      (pp. 59-80)
      WILLIAM J. REID and ANNE E. FORTUNE

      Insofar as possible, practice guidelines in social work should be based on interventions of demonstrated effectiveness. In this chapter we shall present a review of empirically evaluated social work programs that might serve as a basis for the development of such guidelines. In revealing the kinds of practice theories and interventions that are being subjected to empirical scrutiny (as opposed to those that are not), the review will raise issues about the relations between the world of tested programs and the world of ordinary social work practice—an issue that has important ramifications for the development of social work practice...

  6. PART II Practice Guidelines for Social Work:: Need, Nature, and Challenges
    • 5 CLINICAL GUIDELINES AND EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE IN MEDICINE, PSYCHOLOGY, AND ALLIED PROFESSIONS
      (pp. 83-107)
      MATTHEW OWEN HOWARD and JEFFREY M. JENSON

      As social work confronts a new millennium, deficiencies in the production, dissemination, and application of practice-relevant scientific data continue to undermine efforts to foster evidence-based practice. Scientific information facilitating the selection and implementation of effective social interventions has been poorly disseminated and haphazardly utilized. Whereas health professionals routinely scrutinize new research reports, debating their practice implications and practical import, many social workers consider scientific evaluations irrelevant to their professional conduct. Rosen et al. (1995) reported that less than one percent of the practice decisions made by the social workers they studied were justified by reference to empirical findings. They noted...

    • 6 THE STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE GUIDELINES
      (pp. 108-127)
      ENOLA K. PROCTOR and AARON ROSEN

      The introductory chapter to this volume presented our rationale for developing practice guidelines for social work. In this chapter we introduce our conception of practice guidelines as a blueprint for organization of empirically tested practice knowledge in a manner that facilitates its utilization by practitioners. Our working definition of practice guidelines is “a set of systematically compiled and organized knowledge statements designed to enable practitioners to find, select, and use appropriately the interventions that are most effective for a given task.” Practice guidelines, then, help practitioners discharge their functions successfully, yet they must provide for the uncertainty and tentativeness inherent...

    • 7 SOCIAL WORK SHOULD HELP DEVELOP INTERDISCIPLINARY EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE GUIDELINES, NOT DISCIPLINE-SPECIFIC ONES
      (pp. 128-139)
      BRUCE A. THYER

      In Proctor and Rosen’s chapter “The Structure and Function of Social Work Practice Guidelines” it is evident that the authors support the development of practice guidelines (PGs) for use by social workers, and so do I. Let me review what I see as some of the main points of their chapter, and my reactions thereto.

      Proctor and Rosen spend much time discussing the importance of PGs’ being based upon an appropriate organizing taxonomy. They note that virtually all PGs developed to date have been structured around a taxonomy of disorders, usually the conditions adumbrated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual...

    • 8 THE ROLE OF DIAGNOSTIC AND PROBLEM CLASSIFICATION IN FORMULATING TARGET-BASED PRACTICE GUIDELINES
      (pp. 140-155)
      STUART A. KIRK

      The opportunity to consider the role of problem classification in formulating practice guidelines enabled me to link an old topic (the development and uses of diagnostic classification) to a new one (target-based practice guidelines). This chapter is neither for nor against problem classification or practice guidelines. It is intended to stimulate discussion about practice guidelines. First I will describe my understanding of target-based guidelines. Then I will very briefly describe how problem diagnosis and classification have been discussed traditionally in social work and how recent formal problem classification systems (namely, DSM and PIE) depart from that tradition. Finally, I will...

    • 9 CONSTRUCTING PRACTICE: DIAGNOSES, PROBLEMS, TARGETS, OR TRANSACTIONS?
      (pp. 156-166)
      MARK A. MATTAINI

      Red Jacket, a respected Seneca orator, politely rejected an invitation to convert to Christianity on behalf of his people, indicating that “Kitchi-Manitou [The Great Mystery] has given us a different understanding” (Johnston 1992:vii). I find myself in a similar position here. Kirk (chapter 8), as well as several other contributors to this volume, raises critical questions, questions that social work clearly must address. In many cases, however, I find myself understanding the questions differently, which may profoundly shift the possible answers.

      Kirk is concerned about the intensity of research that would be required to identify which interventive strategies are needed...

  7. PART III Responsiveness of Practice Guidelines to Diversity in Client Populations and Practice Settings:: The Idiographic Application of Normative Generalizations
    • 10 ACCOUNTING FOR VARIABILITY IN CLIENT, POPULATION, AND SETTING CHARACTERISTICS: MODERATORS OF INTERVENTION EFFECTIVENESS
      (pp. 169-192)
      LYNN VIDEKA

      Efforts to promote the use of scientifically based knowledge to guide health and human services interventions are among the most promising products of research advances in recent years. Although to date the social work profession has created neither practice guidelines nor related consensus statements regarding scientifically based intervention protocols, several social work scholars have been interested in practice guidelines (Howard and Jenson 1999; Williams and Lanigan 1999; Thyer and Wodarski 1998; Rothman 1992). Empirically based social work practice is a concept whose time has come.

      From the point of view of clinical practice, evidence-based practice should be founded on high-quality...

    • 11 SERVICE-DELIVERY FACTORS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PRACTICE GUIDELINES
      (pp. 193-206)
      LUIS H. ZAYAS

      As our profession moves toward the development of evidence-based practice guidelines, it faces myriad issues, many of which are addressed in this volume and in a recent issue of Research in Social Work Practice (1999). Within this lively debate, this chapter weighs in with a discussion of client, provider, and service-setting characteristics that are necessary for developing practice guidelines.

      Practice guidelines typically focus first on diagnoses, disorders, or problems brought by clients to clinicians. Then they consider specific developmental groups (e.g., infants, children, adolescents, adults, seniors) or preferred treatment modalities (e.g., family, group, individual). This static approach fails to account...

    • 12 PERFORMANCE STANDARDS AND QUALITY CONTROL: APPLICATION OF PRACTICE GUIDELINES TO SERVICE DELIVERY
      (pp. 207-220)
      WILMA PEEBLES-WILKINS and MARYANN AMODEO

      The need to place more emphasis on scientific evidence in social work practice has been well established (Howard and Jenson 1999a, 1999b; Kirk 1999; Mullen 1978, 1988; Richey and Roffman 1999; Videka-Sherman and Reid 1990). Certainly, with its heritage of scientific charity, social work is grounded in such a tradition. One method for addressing this need is the promulgation of practice guidelines founded on research evidence and clinical consensus. We favor this approach for several reasons, among them the importance of such guidelines for practice in a managed care environment. However, several caveats should guide the development and implementation of...

  8. PART IV Practitioner, Organizational, and Institutional Factors in the Utilization of Practice Guidelines
    • 13 PRACTITIONER ADOPTION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF PRACTICE GUIDELINES AND ISSUES OF QUALITY CONTROL
      (pp. 223-235)
      EDWARD J. MULLEN and WILLIAM F. BACON

      We once overheard a clinician complaining that New York State had announced a practice guideline for the treatment of autism.¹ The clinician was unhappy because the guideline proposed an approach to treatment that she did not favor. Her assessment was that the guideline had been endorsed because the method it proposed had research support, whereas her favored approach had not been empirically evaluated. She believed that she would be forced to use the guideline, since her social agency would require practitioner conformity. She believed the agency would not be reimbursed by the state unless the proposed treatment method was used....

    • 14 ORGANIZATIONAL AND INSTITUTIONAL FACTORS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PRACTICE KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE GUIDELINES IN SOCIAL WORK
      (pp. 236-252)
      JEANNE C. MARSH

      For the last twenty-five years, social work researchers have spent considerable energy addressing the question, What is the impact of social work intervention on achieving outcomes of benefit to clients? Evidence relevant to this question is building. The research enterprise has moved from a preoccupation with outcomes to a concern with documenting and specifying the active ingredients of interventions. Increasingly, research efforts are moving to the development of practice guidelines. The interest in practice guidelines has itself led to other questions: What constitutes a practice guideline? Are guidelines organized by diagnostic category, problem area, population group, method of intervention, or...

    • 15 SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE GUIDELINES IN AN INTERPROFESSIONAL WORLD: HONORING NEW TIES THAT BIND
      (pp. 253-268)
      NINA L. ARONOFF and DARLYNE BAILEY

      Social work functions within the larger context of human service professions whose mandate it is to intervene effectively in the complex social issues challenging those we serve—individuals, families, organizations, and communities. At the same time, we are painfully aware that many of our best intentions fail to make enough of a difference in quality-of-life outcomes. In response to this awareness, social work is strengthening some of its existing methods and focusing on some new areas, including engagement in a dialogue about how research can support practice that is more outcomes-oriented and evidence-based. This dialogue builds on a body of...

  9. PART V Conclusion
    • 16 ADVANCING THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE GUIDELINES: DIRECTIONS FOR RESEARCH
      (pp. 271-290)
      ENOLA K. PROCTOR and AARON ROSEN

      Debate about practice guidelines for social work has focused not only on their desirability (Thyer, chapter 7, this volume) but also on the profession’s readiness to develop them. Indeed, serious questions surround social work’s current capacity to generate the research needed for formulating guidelines. As Kirk succinctly stated: “Practice guidelines are only as good as the knowledge base” that underlies them (Kirk 1999:309). Because practice guidelines need to be based upon a relatively strong body of tested evidence, the profession’s progress toward developing them will depend largely upon the extent and quality of its research activity. The conduct of more...

  10. INDEX
    (pp. 291-312)