Assessing Family Caregiver Needs Important

The AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) has released a new fact sheet, Assessing Family Caregiver Needs: Policy and Practice Considerations. The fact sheet explains why it is important to assess and respond to family caregiver needs, highlights the fundamental principles of caregiver assessment, and describes why assessments have an important role in a high-performing long-term services and supports (LTSS) system.åÊ
Providing quality care for the care recipient often requires an understanding of the family caregiver‰Ûªs situation and needs. However, these needs are frequently not identified or addressed in the recipient‰Ûªs care plan.åÊ

Caregiver assessment refers to a systematic process of gathering information about a caregiving situation to identify the specific problems, needs, strengths, and resources of the family caregiver, as well as the caregiver‰Ûªs ability to contribute to the needs of the care recipient.
Caregivers who have their needs assessed often feel acknowledged, valued, and better understood by practitioners. However, a caregiver assessment is not an end in itself. It‰Ûªs a tool to help identify the many roles a particular caregiver plays, the challenges she or he faces, gaps in knowledge and skills, and the kinds of help that will be both useful and acceptable to this caregiver and to the older adult receiving care. A caregiver assessment should result in a plan of care (developed collaboratively with the caregiver) that indicates the provision of services and intended measurable outcomes.

This fact sheet, produced by the AARP Public Policy Institute with support from The SCAN Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund as a follow-on piece to Raising Expectations: A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers, explains the fundamental principles of caregiver assessment and why assessments have an important role in a high-performing LTSS system.