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Caring for adults
Caring for adults

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4.1 Holistic common assessment

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Figure _unit4.4.1 Figure 1 A young woman holding the hand of an older woman

From what you have studied so far in this section, you will know that holistic and person-centred end-of-life care relies on understanding the dying person and their disease or illness. This depends on a good and detailed assessment that takes into account the person’s wishes. In short, a good assessment of people’s needs and preferences is more likely to lead to a good death than interventions that are based on assumptions about what an individual wants. The holistic common assessment [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (NHS National Cancer Action Team, 2010) is one tool that has been devised to meet the changing, complex and wide-ranging needs of people who are approaching death.

The holistic common assessment provides an opportunity to explore the individual’s wider needs and identify how they might be met. By supporting choice and decision making the individual is able to identify what they want for themselves. By considering: Who? When? Where? and How? professionals are guided in delivering what the individual wants.

  • Who should be assessed?

    The person who is recognised as moving towards the end of their life.

  • When should they be assessed?

    Assessment should be seen as a continual process, where assessment is followed by reassessment.

  • Where should the assessment take place?

    Anywhere that the person is comfortable and has privacy.

  • How should assessment be carried out?

    The assessment should be conducted by a professional, who reviews previous assessments and aims for holistic care and potentially advanced care planning.

(Source: Extract adapted from NHS National Cancer Action Team, 2010)