What is a Holistic Needs Assessment and how does it help?
An HNA 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 a person living with cancer. It allows them to highlight the most important issues to them at that time, to inform the development of a care and support plan with their nurse or key worker. The questionnaire can be completed on paper, or electronically (eHNA).
The evidence shows that providing a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA), along with care and support planning, contributes to a better understanding and identification of a person's concerns. It also enables early intervention and diagnosis of side effects or consequences of treatment.
Evidence also suggests that a person’s holistic needs are likely to change at key points in their cancer journey, such as after diagnosis, 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 a person's care and support plan.
We want everyone living with or beyond cancer to be offered an HNA, along with a care and support plan, at key stages in their cancer pathway.
The information gathered from an HNA can also be shared with the multidisciplinary team (MDT) and the person’s GP, to improve management and care. Any data collected can be used to influence service developments and the commissioning of future services.
If you would like help to implement the HNA in your setting, browse our Recovery Package resources.