5 General points on assessment
Look at the notes you have made on the four clips, and decide what general points about assessment have been made.
Conditions of assessment
Were you struck by the fact that neither the doctor who diagnosed Brian's Parkinson's disease, nor the doctor who certified that Anne was unable to continue her employment, provided any additional information or advice? It was left to Sylvia and Anne to initiate assessments. Sylvia's first attempt to obtain help from the social services department seems to have had little success, but she persisted and a home assessment was carried out. Anne (who had worked in social services) was aware that she could refer herself for an occupational therapy assessment, but the assessment was carried out in a corridor with people passing. Although she received some aids and advice as a result of the assessment, the particular aim she had in mind was not met because this would have required an assessment in her own kitchen.
Experiences of assessment
For Brian, the significant fact about the first assessment was that the assessor had spoken only with Sylvia and not with him. Not surprisingly, this still rankled after two years. He and Sylvia showed some irritation at the number of assessments already experienced and those expected, and some of the questions asked. They made plain the value they placed on their current social worker for her reliability, and her behaviour in communicating directly with Brian as well as Sylvia. They expressed concern about proposed service arrangements requiring them to choose whose needs were to be met.
Anne was very disappointed that no home assessment was carried out, and that some of the advice was unhelpful. You may have wondered whether she actually requested a home assessment and this was refused because of resource constraints, or whether she didn't have the courage to persist once the disappointing initial assessment had taken place. In a part of the interview not reproduced on the audio, she says she didn't ask.
The interviews, and the comments on them, raise a great many general points about assessment. Here are some we noted:
the importance of identity and difference to those being assessed;
the importance of information about how to gain access to assessment;
the implications of where assessments are carried out;
the assessor's responsibility to explain why questions are asked and how such information will be used;
the need to ensure that users and carers feel sufficient confidence in the assessor and the process to speak openly about concerns;
the challenge for assessors of balancing the needs of all those concerned – within resource constraints.
You may have listed these points, or different ones.