Adopt Strategies to Screen Adolescents for Risky Behaviors

Bright Futures’ Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children and Adolescents recommends discussing substance use with adolescents as a part of a comprehensive preventive visit using developmentally appropriate tools. SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment) for adolescents ages 12-17 is one of the CCO incentive measures for 2015.

Ways to incorporate this screening for adolescents
Screening adolescents requires a unique set of considerations compared to adult populations, namely confidentiality. Adolescents are less likely to seek services or disclose information on risky behaviors if they do not believe the information will be kept confidential.

Try the following strategies in our adolescent well care visits:

  • Schedule a longer visit
  • Be flexible to respond to unexpected acute issues; may need to postpone ‘well care’ topics
  • Adapt to adolescent’s developmental stage
  • Clearly define confidentiality
  • Address both adolescent’s and parent’s concerns
  • Talk about sensitive topics with parent out of room

Additional Resources
For more information and helpful tips, check out these resources:

SBIRT Reimbursement Guidelines
SBIRT Oregon

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