Who Should Conduct a Family Caregiver Assessment?
A range of professionals can conduct a caregiver assessment including:
What Special Training is Needed?
Social service and health care professionals need to know how the assessment process guides and informs their work with the family. Caregiver assessment allows caregivers to “tell their stories” to describe their caregiving situation. However, caregiver assessment is only a tool, not an end in itself. For assessment to matter, the conversation with the caregiver and the information collected must be valued by the practitioner and linked to care planning and what the caregiver wants to happen.
To conduct assessments professionals need to know how to complete forms (increasingly entered online as part of electronic records), and calculate and interpret scores when using standardized measures. They also need to know how to develop a rapport to begin the assessment process, gather information and ask questions, and probe for clarification. When doing caregiver assessments it is also important to recognize and respect diversity and cultural issues, as well as the needs of the caregiver and the care recipient.
Here’s what it takes:
Things to Keep in Mind:
- Professional differences exist in the approach to assessment. These differences can be strengths that benefit the family.
- Working as a team and focusing on the “consumer” (i.e. the caregiver) can bridge professional differences. The family comes out ahead!
- Different techniques, such as direct observation, clinical interview and questionnaires can be used to obtain information.
- Consider whether certain parts of the assessment can be self-administered by caregivers.
- Practitioners who complete assessments should receive adequate training, supervision and feedback on a regular basis about: how to conduct systematic assessments of caregiver needs, how to use specific tools and measures, how to interpret the information collected, and how to work with the family to develop a care plan.
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