Stepped care is a model of healthcare delivery with two fundamental features.
First, the recommended treatment within a stepped care model should be the least restrictive of those currently available, but still likely to provide significant health gain.
The definition of 'least restrictive' may refer to the impact on patients in terms of cost and personal inconvenience but in the context of publicly funded healthcare systems where specialist therapist time is a key limiting factor, 'least restrictive' is often interpreted as referring to the amount of specialist therapist time required (i.e. treatment intensity).
Second, the stepped care model is self-correcting.
'Self-correcting' means that the results of treatments and decisions about treatment provision are monitored systematically, and changes are made ('stepping up') if current treatments are not achieving significant health gain.
This glossary is designed to explain some of the jargon and gobbledygook used by some people when they talk about autism or research..
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The fact that an intervention is listed in this glossary does not necessarily mean that we agree with its use. Nor does it necessarily mean that there is any scientifically valid or reliable evidence behind it.