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Assessing the patient's needs and planning effective care

11 November 2021
12 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 20


Nurses have an essential role to play in the assessment and planning of patient care. This is emphasised in the Nursing and Midwifery Council's 2018Future Nurse proficiency standards. In this article, the author discusses the importance of person-centred care in assessing needs and highlights the need for all nursing interventions to be evidence based. The topics covered include assessing people's needs, care planning, stages of care planning, benefits of care planning, models of care, care pathways, and care clustering in mental health care. The article also highlights the significance of record-keeping.

The central role of nurses in assessing patient needs and planning care is one of the core areas emphasised in Future Nurse, the Nursing and Midwifery Council's (NMC) (2018a) nursing proficiency standards. The document categorises ‘assessing needs and planning care’ as the third of seven areas of proficiency, which are grouped into ‘platforms’. Future Nurse emphasises that the delivery of person-centred care and evidence-based nursing interventions are vital components for effective patient assessment and care planning. The standards further highlight that the nurse should understand the need to assess each patient's capacity to make their own decisions and to allow them the opportunity to give and withdraw consent.

An assessment is a form of a dialogue between client and practitioner, in which they discuss the needs of the former to promote their wellbeing and what they expect to happen in their daily life (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2021). Nursing assessment involves collecting data from the patient and analysing the information to identify the patient's needs, which are sometimes described as problems.

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