Individualising Care

To individualise care we must assess thoroughly. This means gathering information from as many different sources as possible. Information is needed from the patient, their family, paid and unpaid carers, the GP, community nurses, community groups and anyone else who can provide information. Formal assessments such as cognitive tests, CT scans, blood results and clinical assessments made by the multidisciplinary team will also provide information. This list is not exhaustive.

By getting information from as many places as you can, you build up a picture of the patient's condition. Taking information from just one source can be misleading.

The Patient:
Patients are often able to say how they're feeling now, but may not be able to remember recent events or answer more abstract questions.

Family can often inform about presenting problems, medical and cognitive history, and function. But this will depend on the relationship, degree of contact and any carer strain.

Paid Carers:
Paid carers may be able to give some history, and usual function, but this depends on how long they spend with them. They may not be so well informed about patient's beliefs and values.

Formal Assessments:
Formal assessments will provide information on the mental and physical state of the patient at this moment in time, for example the Montreal Cognitive Assessment will provide an assessment of cognition.

The multidisciplinary team:
The multidisciplinary team will have information on different aspects of the patient's condition in hospital and will advise on what treatments and therapies are possible to get the patient back to maximum function. They will not know the prior abilities of the patient unless they have spoken to the family or other carers.