Journal Article

The Pursuit of Integration in the Assessment of Older People with Health and Social Care Needs

Michele Abendstern, Jane Hughes, Paul Clarkson, Caroline Sutcliffe and David Challis

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 41, issue 3, pages 467-485
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2010 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcq118
The Pursuit of Integration in the Assessment of Older People with Health and Social Care Needs

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The provision of timely and effective services for older people with health and social care needs is dependent on the collection of accurate assessment information being shared with relevant agencies and accepted by them. This requires an integrated assessment approach capable of spanning the longstanding institutional separation between health and social care agencies present in England. This article considers the extent to which this has been achieved following the introduction of a policy initiative (the Single Assessment Process) that aimed to integrate assessment through the use of shared tools and procedures. The nature of implementation at the local level is considered in relation to national guidance. Indicators of integration include the existence of protocols and agreements, linkage with other processes and settings, joint training programmes, information sharing systems and the nature of professional involvement. Data are derived from a national survey conducted in 2006. Findings suggest that some aspects of the policy have been taken up more than others and that whilst there is commitment to an integrated approach, this has been hampered by disjointed information sharing initiatives and by lack of involvement from some sectors. The issues raised are relevant to future proposals that seek to promote integrated assessment.

Keywords: Integrated assessment; ageing and older people; health and social care; inter-professional working; social policy

Journal Article.  6435 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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