Holistic Needs Assessment

The Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) is a paper or electronic document completed by yourself and your key worker / clinical nurse specialist to help you both think about any needs or concerns you have.

It is a checklist or set of questions about your physical, emotional, practical, financial and spiritual needs following a cancer diagnosis. It give professionals greater understanding of your needs and helps identify and address specific problems. Once discussed with your key worker the answers form a care plan that outlines what was agreed and any contact details for organisations or services that could help. This can be shared with other health professionals such as your GP.

You may be offered an HNA at diagnosis, during treatment or after treatment has ended but you can ask for an assessment at any time if you feel it would help. It only takes about 30 minutes to complete and can help you plan ahead – from diagnosis through to treatment and life after treatment.

The document can be provided by your clinical nurse specialist or if your hospital is signed up you can be given a password to access the electronic holistic needs assessment at https://signup.mycareplan.co.uk/ This allows you to complete the questionnaire on a touch screen tablet which is then sent through a secure website to your clinical nurse specialist.

The Cancer Alliance has also supported some voluntary agencies such as Macmillan, Age UK and Citizens Advice Bureau to facilitate completion of these documents with patients. You can ask your key worker about accessing this support.

The Cancer Alliance is working with the Networks Learning Disabilities Macmillan Project Manager to develop easy read formats of this document for patients with learning disabilities or who require reasonable adjustments.

To enable implementation of the recovery package the Cancer Alliance offered all locality groups support for two posts, and LWBC project manager and co-ordinator. There are 18 of these posts attached to Trusts and areas who:

  • Work with CNSs to implement the holistic needs assessment and care plan
  • Network with voluntary sector organisations to provide capacity to support patients to complete HNA
  • Encourage third sector organisations to work together to maximise the contribution they make to supporting people living with and beyond cancer
  • Identify overlap and gaps and work with third sector and statutory providers to fill gaps
  • To enable delivery of the actions identified in the care plan by being aware of local support services which the patient may need e.g. third sector organisations/psychological support/financial support/health & wellbeing events and services

Learn and share events have been held to enable all posts across the region to share best practice.