Journal Article

Professionals Assessing Clients’ Needs and Eligibility for Electric Scooters in the Netherlands: Both Gatekeepers and Clients’ Advocates

Frederike Jörg, Hennie R. Boeije and Augustinus J. P. Schrijvers

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 35, issue 6, pages 823-842
Published in print September 2005 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online September 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch279
Professionals Assessing Clients’ Needs and Eligibility for Electric Scooters in the Netherlands: Both Gatekeepers and Clients’ Advocates

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Independence and maintaining social contact are important factors of elderly persons’ quality of life. An electric scooter may support people with mobility problems to achieve these goals. In the Netherlands, needs assessors have been appointed to evaluate clients’ eligibility for electric scooters. They have to cope with a twofold job assignment: allocating services to only those clients who are eligible according to predetermined criteria, but also acting in their client’s best interest, for the system of needs assessment should be client oriented. This paper examines how needs assessors apply eligibility criteria and act in the client’s interest at the same time. A qualitative study was performed, observing twelve house calls of clients requesting an electric scooter. Interviews were held with needs assessors and a document analysis was made. We found that needs assessors used their discretionary room to create their own policy regarding who deserves an electric scooter and who does not. They did this by concealing or emphasizing certain information. Especially when needs assessors sympathized with their clients, they did their best to sustain the case. The paper concludes with the suggestion that needs assessors would benefit from discussing their personal values, not only to agree on their norms as a professional group but also to avoid illegitimate arguments influence the decision. Furthermore, needs assessor should try to influence local social policy, gearing it towards the needs of the local community.

Keywords: needs assessment; qualitative research; professional autonomy; deservingness

Journal Article.  8376 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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