Complex Needs Capable:

A Practice Resource for Drug and Alcohol Services (2013)


Complex Needs Capable was published in July 2013 and was launched alongside the website

The resource was developed in consultation with members and stakeholders as part of NADA's Practice Enhancement Program funded by the Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Office, NSW Ministry of Health. The Practice Enhancement Program aimed to build capacity within the drug and alcohol non government sector in working with clients with complex needs such as acquired brain injury, intellectual disability, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and contact with the criminal justice system.

The resource includes practice tips for workers and considerations for services in working with people with complex needs. It links theory to practice, provides information on what workers need to know about particular complex needs issues, screening and assessment, and appropriate tools for service use. The resource contains useful links and a comprehensive list of further reading. The CD-Rom contains a range of useful templates, factsheets and resources.

To provide feedback on the resource please contact Ciara Donaghy on 02 8113 1306, or Heidi Becker on 02 81131317.


To download an electronic copy of the resource or the CD-Rom contents click the relevant links below:


Full resource:  Complex Needs Capable: A Practice Resource for Drug and Alcohol Services

Chapter 2: Cognitive Impairment - What You Need to Know

Introduction to Intellectual Disability (IDRS 2009)

What is Intellectual Disability? (NSW CID 2006)

Acquired Brain Injury: The Facts (4th edition, Synapse Association of Queensland)

Understanding and Living with Brain Injury - For Service Providers (Brain Injury Association of NSW 1999)

Looking Forward: Acquired Brain Injury (4th ed, arbias, 2011)  

Looking Forward: Information and Specialist Advice on Alcohol Related Brain Impairment (4th ed, arbias, 2011)

Our Health Our Way (3rd ed, arbias, 2012)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): A Framework for Action (Public Health Agency of Canada 2005)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Factsheet (Health Canada)


Chapter 3: Criminal Justice System Contact - What You Need to Know

Court Support Information Booklet (CRC 2012)

Supporting Your Client in Court: Quick Tips for Alcohol and Drug Workers Booklet(NADA & Legal Aid NSW 2012) 


Chapter 4: Practice Tips for Workers

Introduction to Intellectual Disability (IDRS 2009)

Maximise People's Ability to Make Their Own Decisions (IDRS 2004)

Easy English Writing Style Guide (Scope 2007)

Images for Easy English (Scope 2008)

How to Write Plain English (Plain English Campaign)

Cover Your Cough (Minnesota Department of Health)

Wash Your Hands (WHO 2009)

Referral Pathways Template (NADA, Complex Needs Capable 2013)

A Counsellor's Guide to Working with Alcohol and Drug Users (2nd Ed., Marsh et al, Drug and Alcohol Office, Western Australia, 2007)

Modifying group work in a correctional setting for people with a cognitive impairment (NADA 2013)

MACNI: Care Plan Coordination (The Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative State of Victoria, Department of Human Services, 2005)

Resource Manual: Assertive Case Management A Proactive Approach (Version 1, Mental Health Services, 2008, Department of Health & Human Services Tasmania).


Chapter 5: Screening and Assessment for Cognitive Impairment

Brief Guide to Cognitive Impairment Screening and Assessment Tools (NADA, Complex Needs Capable 2013)

Guide to Neuropsychological Assessments for Clients and Family Members (arbias, Brain Foundation Victoria & Headway Victoria 2005)

FASD Adult Identification Tool (rffada 2012)


Chapter 6: Considerations for Services

Training Needs Analysis Template (NADA 2013)

Complex Needs Pre-training Survey example (NADA 2013)

Complex Needs Post-training Survey example (NADA 2013)

Cognitive Impairment Survey (Adapted from Questionnaire on Cognitive Impairment, The Lyndon Community, 2012)

Change Management Template (NADA, Complex Needs Capable 2013 )

Service Communications Audit Template (NADA, Complex Needs Capable 2013)

External Relationships Policy Template(NADA, Policy Toolkit 2010)

Memorandum of Understanding Template (NADA, Policy Toolkit 2010)

Contractual Relationship Procedure (NADA, Policy Toolkit 2010)

Intention to Collaborate Document (NADA, Policy Toolkit 2010)

Referral Pathways Template (NADA, Complex Needs Capable 2013 )

Inclusive Practice Policy Template (NADA, Complex Needs Capable 2013)

Quality Improvement Policy Template (NADA, Policy Toolkit 2010)

Quality Improvement Action Plan Template (NADA, Policy Toolkit 2010)

WHOS Complex Needs clients data survey: assessment and treatment options (Community Sector Consulting, 2011)

Karralika Complex Needs Policy and Procedure (Karralika Programs Inc 2012)


Note:These resources are up to date at the time of publication. Factsheets templates and assessment tools may be amended over time so please refer to original sources of information to check for amendments.