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For Gaynor and Liz, Anne's account presents rather different issues to those raised by Brian and Sylvia.
I think Anne's assessment, she has said took place in a hallway and lasted about an hour and a half, and was only a verbal assessment. And I think she mentioned about people going backwards and forwards during that time, so it wasn't undisturbed time. And I think, when we do an assessment, it should be undivided attention to that individual with no distractions going on. In terms of Anne's assessment, because it was actually looking at equipment and things that she needed to enable her to manage independently at home, then really that needed to be done in the home environment ... and actually taken stuff for her to actually have the opportunity to try at home, to see whether it did meet her needs, or whether it didn't.
I think, if a home visit had been done with Anne, then actually seeing her in her own home and seeing exactly how she needs to cope, rather than just asking questions, then you'd get a truer picture of the difficulties that someone's experiencing.
In an assessment, you're looking at the person's whole life and their social and emotional wellbeing ... and sex is very much a part of that. In my working time, I don't think I've met anyone, to my knowledge, who is prepared to talk in the frank way that she does. And we're not really trained to deal with some of the issues that she brought up, I don't feel.
Within the unit where I'm working, it's something that we are trying to address in terms of it being an area that one member of the team will actually approach with the client.
I think, in a sensitive way, the assessor could look at this issue, but in the way that the user is accepting and happy and comfortable with.
I think using a combination of maybe ... not necessarily asking questions ... it's giving the patient the chance, to really say that, “These are my difficulties”. I guess, you know, that it's gone well if the patient is actually then positive at the end of the assessment, and is almost keen to know what the next stage is going to be.
My concern is that, when we do an assessment, everyone's view is considered. And that's not just the people we visit, but we often get the views of outsiders, such as neighbours and general practitioners and district nurses ... a whole host of people. So an assessment is not just the people in that home, it's other people’s views as well. And it's a balancing act, all the time of devising a care plan as a result of the assessment that's acceptable to everyone.
I think an assessment is challenging. I think, when we do an assessment, then it is a case of looking at the person as a whole, and looking at all areas of their life, and the things that they have to cope with, and not just focusing on perhaps disability that someone has got ... and also looking to what their future goals are, as well as the here and now.
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