Holistic Needs Assessment
Evidence has shown providing effective individual Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) and care and support planning can contribute to better identification of a person's concerns. It also enables early intervention and diagnosis of side effects or consequences of treatment. As such, everyone living with or beyond cancer should be offered an HNA and a care and support plan at key stages on their cancer pathway as part of the Recovery Package.
What is a Holistic Needs Assessment and how does it help?
The HNA and care plan – piloted since 2008 by Macmillan as part of the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative (NCSI) - ensures that people’s physical, practical, emotional, spiritual and social needs are met in a timely and appropriate way, and that resources are targeted to those who need them most.
An HNA is a simple questionnaire that is completed by the person affected by cancer. It allows them to highlight the most important issues to them at that time, and this can inform the development of a care and support plan with their nurse or key worker. The questionnaire can be completed on paper, or electronically.
Evidence suggests that the person’s holistic needs are likely to change at key points like after diagnosis and at the end of treatment, or if something else affects their health or social needs. Having an HNA at these points helps to identify the issues that need to be discussed and can be used to continually inform the care and support plan developed in partnership with the person affected by cancer and their nurse or key worker.
The information gathered from an HNA can also be shared with the multidisciplinary team (MDT) and the person’s GP, to improve a person’s management and care. The data collected can be used to influence service developments and the commissioning of future services.
An HNA and care and support plan might cover:
- Discussion and advice on any physical, practical, emotional, spiritual, social or lifestyle concerns raised in the assessment.
- Signposting to either local or national support groups.
- Information about local Health and Wellbeing Clinics, education events or self management courses as available in your area.
- Referral to allied healthcare professionals for support if required.
- Advice related to lifestyle i.e. stop smoking services.
- Information or referral to an appropriate physical activity programme.
- Information or referral for advice on diet and nutrition.
- Referral for counselling or psychological support.
- Support related to work and finance concerns.
- Support for spiritual needs.
Electronic Holistic Needs Assessment (eHNA)
Macmillan's eHNA prototype project uses a touch screen tablet for the HNA questionnaire, rather than it being on paper.
Find out more >