Outcome Drift

How can we better understand Outcome Drift?

On the surface, the Helping Triangle suggests a static model where the elements remain constant over time. Were this the case, containing outcome drift would be a very complex but less daunting process than it actually is. The reality is the elements of the model are not static and the interaction among the elements is also not static. They are, in fact, dynamic and more or less unstable.

If we focus on potential clients, at least two factors change over time. First, the coping difficulties potential clients are experiencing change. Their circumstances and situations change as does their ability to adequately cope. This combined change leads to minor to significant change in the problems needing supports and services. Additionally, the specific people in the potential client group change over time. This adds to the dynamic nature of the issues needing attention. The people being helped today are not the same people who will need help tomorrow. What they need today is not quite the same as what they will need tomorrow. Services appearing to be a good fit today may fit less well tomorrow. …