10 Ways to Write a Quality Note

Writing a note is at the heart of the work we do. The difference between a life-changing session and forgetful one often comes down to the details you share in your note. So, to help you support your organization's efforts better, here are ten ways to write a better note:

  1. Focus on the details of the support you provided related to the objective and support method, rather than the details of what the young person did that day. Someone reading the notes needs to understand what your efforts were in teaching, providing, or coordinating the behavioral health service.

  2. Focus of the note has to be about you as the writer and what and why you did it, not the enrolled person’s actions.

  3. Every note you write needs to illustrate your actions in coordinating, teaching or providing a service.

  4. Include enough detail about your efforts to justify the amount of time were providing the service.

  5. Each note needs to stand alone: don't rely on information written in other notes.

  6. There can only be one place of service (ex: Home vs. Park) per note.

  7. There can also only be one support method (Skills Training vs. Family Support) per note.

  8. When describing the “progress toward objective,” be sure that you are describing the young person or family member’s reaction to your service.

  9. If you are ever unclear about your purpose in providing support, it is really important to seek supervision from your coordinator. Continue to ask questions until you are clear!

  10. If you are clear about your purpose, but are struggling to articulate it in writing…ask for help!

Bob Pemberton