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Aging Ment Health. 2006 Sep;10(5):549-57.

The assessment of older people's needs in care homes.

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Personal Social Services Research Unit, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.


In many countries there is a concern to improve assessment procedures for older people to avoid misplacement in nursing homes and ensure that rehabilitation takes place where possible. The study examined assessment documentation in 126 care homes in North West England. On a set of core domains for assessing need, the level of coverage varied considerably. The use of standardised scales was infrequent apart from those that measured risk of developing pressure sores. Some important key domains were infrequently mentioned on the assessment forms including mental health, pain, oral health and foot care. The most frequently covered items were the activities of daily living. There were clear differences in the assessment approaches employed in different types of home. The lack of inclusion of certain key health areas on some assessment forms suggests that the well-being and quality of life of some residents may be poorly addressed, and that further work is required for the standard of assessment in care homes to match that in community-based care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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