• CHCAOD408A - Assess needs of clients with alcohol and/or other drugs issues

Assessor Resource

Assess needs of clients with alcohol and/or other drugs issues

Assessment tool

Version 1.0
Issue Date: February 2019

The skills an knowledge of this unit of competency are used by workers to conduct an assessment and determine eligibility for service provision

This unit describes the knowledge and skills required to assess client needs in the context of identifying options for delivery of community services to support their needs

This unit includes applying standard processes and procedures to providing a comprehensive assessment of clients' alcohol and other drugs (AOD) and other needs, developing case plans based on the assessment, and referring clients to other services as required

You may want to include more information here about the target group and the purpose of the assessments (eg formative, summative, recognition)


Not Applicable

Employability Skills

This unit contains Employability Skills

Evidence Required

List the assessment methods to be used and the context and resources required for assessment. Copy and paste the relevant sections from the evidence guide below and then re-write these in plain English.

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this unit of competency:

The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills

Competency must be demonstrated in a real work environment

Competence in this unit must be assessed over a period of time in order to ensure consistency of performance across contexts applicable to the work environment

Consistency in performance should consider the work environment, worker's role and responsibilities in the workplace

Access and equity considerations:

All workers in community services should be aware of access, equity and human rights issues in relation to their own area of work

All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment

In recognition of particular issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Context of and specific resources for assessment:

Assessment of this competency will require human resources consistent with those outlined in the Assessment Guidelines

In cases where the learner does not have the opportunity to cover all relevant aspects in the work environment, the remainder should be assessed through realistic simulations, projects, previous relevant experience or oral questioning on 'What if?' scenarios

Method of assessment:

Assessment of this unit of competence will usually include observation of processes and procedures, oral and/or written questioning on Essential knowledge and skills and consideration of required attitudes

Where performance is not directly observed and/or is required to be demonstrated over a 'period of time' and/or in a 'number of locations', any evidence should be authenticated by colleagues, supervisors, clients or other appropriate persons

Related units:

This unit of competency is recommended to be assessed in conjunction with a first aid unit

Depending on jurisdiction and job role, this may be:

HLTFA301B Apply first aid

HLTFA402B Apply advanced first aid

Submission Requirements

List each assessment task's title, type (eg project, observation/demonstration, essay, assingnment, checklist) and due date here

Assessment task 1: [title]      Due date:

(add new lines for each of the assessment tasks)

Assessment Tasks

Copy and paste from the following data to produce each assessment task. Write these in plain English and spell out how, when and where the task is to be carried out, under what conditions, and what resources are needed. Include guidelines about how well the candidate has to perform a task for it to be judged satisfactory.

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge:

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

These include knowledge of:

Legal and organisation knowledge, including:

legal and organisation requirements for client registration, allocation and referral

organisation policies on reporting and confidentiality

organisation policies and procedures for documenting work with clients

understanding agency role, agency target group and the impacts on the local community

range of alcohol and other drugs specific treatment intervention options including detoxification, inpatient treatment programs, outpatient treatment services, and brief interventions

Effects of alcohol and other drugs use, including:

signs and symptoms of medical risk associated with alcohol and other drugs use

stages and symptoms of alcohol and other drugs withdrawal

basic health issues relating to alcohol and/or other drugs use - e.g. malnutrition, blood borne diseases, skin infestations, effects of drug use on health, cognitive, social, emotional development and impact on others

basic pharmacology - types of drugs; dose levels; effects of specific drugs; tolerance; treatment approaches broadly

the effects of alcohol related brain injury

consequences and effects of drug substitution/replacement

effects of prescribed drugs on the use of other drugs

patterns of drug use in Australia and the local community

range of use and use scenarios e.g. lifestyle context of illegal drug use

Co-morbidity issues relating to assessment of people with drug and/or alcohol issues

Risk management in relation to interventions for people with drug and/or alcohol and co-morbidity issues

Theoretical frameworks about motivation to change alcohol and/or other drug use

Legal issues, including:

legal status of drugs

legal issues surrounding alcohol and other drugs use

Policy issues, including:

public health model - interaction of impact of drugs, individual and the environment

harm minimisation including a range of approaches: prevention, early intervention, abstinence, specialist treatment, supply control and safer drug use

continued ...

Essential knowledge (contd):

Established processes and protocols for determining:

level of dependence

patterns of use

length of dependence

health status

Aspects of working with clients, including:

common relapse precipitants

a range of strategies for working with clients

strategies to promote participation in programs

range of cultural contexts - lifestyle, set of beliefs, customs

client empowerment/disempowerment

rights of workers and clients

different lifestyles

self-esteem, abuse issues, self-awareness, own biases, ethical obligations re: helping relationships

types of counselling e.g. motivational interviewing, brief and intensive intervention, relapse prevention

protocols around use of interpreters

client-centred approach

case management principles

Working with clients at risk of self-harm, including:

suicidal or self-harming behaviour, ideation or intention

no-suicide contracts and other protective strategies

links between predisposing factors for self-harm, drug use and mental health problems

legal and ethical obligations regarding clients at risk of self-harm or with mental illnesses

Essential skills:

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to:

Conduct assessments using established processes and protocols

Demonstrate the capacity to work with clients:

with a range of issues

in a range of settings

from different cultural backgrounds

in a non-judgemental way

in emergency situations

In addition, the candidate must be able to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

These include the ability to:

Demonstrate first aid certification or equivalent skills (as per unit HLTFA301B Apply first aid) including:

cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR)


managing toxic substances

managing bleeding

managing broken bones

managing consciousness

managing choking and knowledge of coma positions

Establish rapport

Use active listening including questioning

Interpret verbal and non-verbal communication

Work with a range of clients

Contract with clients

Demonstrate application of skills in:

conflict resolution


crisis intervention

protective intervention


networking and liaison with other agencies

identification of support structures

Maintain documentation as required, including effective use of relevant information technology in line with occupational health and safety (OHS) guidelines

The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Clients include:

Families and personal network of the client

Assessment may take place:


By telephone

Other issues may include but are not limited to:

Legal issues for persons under court/protective/ statutory orders

Co-morbidity (dual diagnosis) issues related to physical/sensory/intellectual/ psychiatric disabilities

Developmental issues

Trauma issues, for example for survivors of domestic violence, abuse, neglect or sexual assault

Other related information may include:

That provided by other services via referral

Doctor's or other professional's reports

Information provided by family or support network

Current status of the client includes:

Determining readiness to change

Physical, emotional, financial, legal and psychosocial state and immediate needs in these areas

Other drug use in the family

Level of risk of deliberate self-harm behaviours and/or harm to others

Levels of risk behaviour associated with alcohol and/or other drug use including behaviours which expose clients to blood borne diseases

Indicators of other issues may include:

A history of mental health issues

Indicators of abuse, neglect or harm including self-harm

Indicators of child abuse

Having no accommodation, employment or money

Options for meeting the range of client needs may include:

Referral to other services

Community intervention

Client's drug use history refers to collection of relevant information on:

Name, age, gender etc

Drug history

Social and legal history

Current status including housing status

Agency ability to cater for the client needs

Mental health issues

Other relevant related issues affecting clients

Early or short-term programs refers to:

Less intensive, shorter term activities that are an alternative to longer and more intensive programs. These brief interventions carried out by a range of workers, often opportunistically, are usually offered to those individuals who are less severely drug dependent

Current information on related issues includes information on:

Meeting physical, emotional, financial and social needs

Contacts for self-help groups

Resources on dependency

Resources on alcohol and other drugs issues for families or personal network

Advocacy groups

Information regarding mental health and self-harm

Crisis and emergency contacts

Goals and action plans may be short and long term and should include:

Harm minimisation (including abstinence, controlled drinking, safer sex, safer drug use, safe injecting)

Strategies to target reducing at risk behaviours

Goals and action plans may include:

Vocational goals (employment and training)


Meeting immediate physical needs

Maintenance of stable social and emotional environment

Reintegration within social context

Ensuring personal safety

Management of crisis

Timelines and priorities

Review refers to:

A short term formative analysis of client progress

Reviewing strategies

Standards against which a review can occur

Relapse prevention strategies may include:

Identification of drug use 'triggers' and working with the client to develop responses to deal with triggers

Referral to self help groups

Stress management advice

Ongoing positive support

Monitoring of the client's progress

Facilitating use of community resources

Encouraging client to develop a support network

Role play

Discussion of strategies for stress management, money management, goal setting, prioritising, problem solving, decision-making, disengagement

Client exit (negotiation of with the client) will depend on the organisation policies and procedures and the individual clients needs and may include:

Negotiation of contract with client

Providing information on what the client may expect when they leave

Providing follow up

Ending the client/worker relationship

Ensuring personal safety of clients at risk of self-harm including availability of ongoing supports from appropriate agencies

Access to harm reduction consumables e.g. Needles, syringes, and needle exchange programs

Client exit (organisation requirements) may include:

Client questionnaire

Documentation including reason for exit and condition of client at exit

Organisation's documentation on treatment/ assessment progress

Supporting a client to make contact with other services may include:

Making an appointment for the client

Accompanying client to first appointment

Organising for another appropriate person to accompany the client to an appointment

Organising interpreter services for the client

Other services that are specific to alcohol and/or other drugs use may include:


Inpatient counselling

Outpatient counselling

Self-help groups

Proclaimed place, rehabilitation centres, residential etc

Sobering up units

Services which provide consumables e.g. Syringes, thiamine, needle exchange, methadone or other drug substitution/replacement services

Therapeutic communities

Other services include:

Department of Social Security


Emergency services

Mental health services

Follow up will depend on the organisation's policies and procedures and the client needs and may include:

Obtaining feedback and reports on outcomes of referrals from other agency in accordance with organisation policies and procedures including those referring to client confidentiality

Checking protective support for suicide risk is available if required

Making an appointment for follow up

Contact with client at referral agency

Liaison between alcohol and other drugs worker and other services

Outcomes may include:

Measurement of harm minimisation

Changes made during intervention and changes sustained over time

Those negotiated with the client as part of a management plan

Referral and acceptance to another treatment program or half-way house

Both positive and negative outcomes

Linkage with appropriate services

Client being moved from institution or service

Client changes - behaviour, attitudinal

Review against care plan may be:

Within the organisation

In consultation with other agencies

Copy and paste from the following performance criteria to create an observation checklist for each task. When you have finished writing your assessment tool every one of these must have been addressed, preferably several times in a variety of contexts. To ensure this occurs download the assessment matrix for the unit; enter each assessment task as a column header and place check marks against each performance criteria that task addresses.

Observation Checklist

Tasks to be observed according to workplace/college/TAFE policy and procedures, relevant legislation and Codes of Practice Yes No Comments/feedback
Conduct discussions with the client to identify reasons for seeking help and other relevant information that may assist in establishing a basis for further work 
Explain to client organisation parameters of confidentiality and policy/procedures 
Inform the client of the purpose and process of the assessment 
Confirm the client's understanding of the purpose and process of assessment 
Take client's drug use history in accordance with organisation policies and procedures 
Identify and clarify any previously identified co-morbidity / dual diagnosis in consultation with relevant health or community services professionals 
Assess the current status of the client using standardised alcohol and other drugs screens and from discussion with client 
Use established assessment procedures and protocols to identify issues related to client health in collaboration with relevant health professional as required 
Assess patterns of use with established assessment procedures and protocols 
Assess level of dependence with established assessment procedures and protocols 
Identify indicators of other issues that may affect work with the client through observation and questioning 
Provide a suitable and comfortable environment for the assessment 
Comply with the guidelines when conducting the assessment 
Conduct assessment in a fair manner 
Identify client issues that are outside the scope of the service and/or the scope of the worker 
Identify appropriate service and other support options 
Inform the client of possible options 
Inform he client of the reasons for seeking other service and support options 
Confirm the client's understanding of options 
Work with the client to determine referral options and responsibilities 
Where appropriate, make referral with client consent and within organisation policy and procedures 
Record assessment results according to defined guidelines 
Interpret assessment results according to defined guidelines 
Apply organisation criteria to determine entry or exclusion to services 
Prepare assessment report based on guidelines and organisation policy and procedures 
Provide feedback to the person according to organisation policy and procedure 
Provide assessment information to others, including relevant health and/or community services professionals according to consent requirements and organisation policy and procedure 


Assessment Cover Sheet

CHCAOD408A - Assess needs of clients with alcohol and/or other drugs issues
Assessment task 1: [title]

Student name:

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I declare that the assessment tasks submitted for this unit are my own work.

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Result: Competent Not yet competent

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Assessment Record Sheet

CHCAOD408A - Assess needs of clients with alcohol and/or other drugs issues

Student name:

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Assessment task 1: [title] Result: Competent Not yet competent

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Feedback to student:









Overall assessment result: Competent Not yet competent

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