Development and use of a transition readiness scale to help manage ACT team capacity

Psychiatr Serv. 2012 Mar;63(3):223-9. doi: 10.1176/


Objective: This article describes the creation, validation, and use of an assertive community treatment (ACT) Transition Readiness Scale (TRS) to identify clients who may be ready to transition from ACT services. Scale development was prompted by concerns over long stays on ACT teams and the resulting impact on access.

Methods: Data were extracted from a centralized clinical reporting system for all 1,365 persons enrolled for at least 12 months as of August 2008 in the 42 ACT teams in New York City, including 382 clients of eight of those ACT teams. Data in seven domains deemed relevant to transition readiness were used to calculate readiness scores for each client. An algorithm assigned clients to one of three categories: consider for transition, readiness unclear, and not ready.

Results: Via the TRS algorithm, of the 1,365 clients, 192 (14%) were assigned to the consider-for-transition group, 382 (28%) to the unclear group, and 791 (58%) to the not ready group. Clinicians on the eight ACT teams categorized 15% of their current clients in the consider-for-transition group, whereas the TRS algorithm classified 18% in this category. Overall, the TRS agreed with the category assigned by ACT team clinicians in 69% of cases.

Conclusions: The TRS may provide ACT teams and program administrators with a tool to identify clients who may be ready to transition to less intensive services, thereby opening scarce slots. Because ACT cases are complex, data summaries can offer useful syntheses of information, particularly when data from several assessments are used to summarize a client's trajectory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Attitude
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Community Mental Health Services / methods
  • Community Mental Health Services / standards*
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • New York City
  • Patient Care Team / standards
  • Patient Selection
  • Patient Transfer / standards*
  • Pilot Projects
  • ROC Curve