The AUT Gambling and Addictions Research Centre undertook the study in partnership with gambling harm minimisation service providers.
PCOMS is an international tool that was developed for counselling situations to improve therapeutic counsellor-client relationships and to collect and use client data to measure client outcomes and monitor client-counsellor relationships.
One important aspect of the evaluation was the trial of a Kaupapa Māori Outcomes Rating Scale (KORS) in parallel with the Outcomes Rating Scale (ORS) that is closely associated with PCOMS.
Key findings included evidence that:
- the tool worked with a range of clients from different ethnicities including Māori, Pacific and Asian clients. On a case by case basis, counsellors should consider using the KORS rather than ORS for Māori and Pacific clients. Alternatively, these clients should have the choice of completing either scale as a measure of their treatment and progress
- use of the tool was inconsistent across counsellors and the purpose of the tool wasn’t necessarily understood by clients
- where the tool was used by counsellors, it was used appropriately by them to discuss treatment direction with their clients
- however, there was mixed evidence as to whether use of the tool resulted in better health outcomes.
The report provides useful insights into how such tools could be used in the NZ setting, and how similar tools could need modification for the New Zealand population.
The Problem Gambling Foundation has used the evaluation results to inform their operational decision to not continue with the PCOMS as a tool in their clinical practice.