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The Camberwell Assessment of Need (CAN): comparison of assessments by staff and patients of the needs of the severely mentally ill

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The association between the assessment of need by staff and by severely mentally ill patients was examined using a new needs assessment instrument, the Camberwell Assessment of Need (CAN). In all, 49 staff-patient pairs were interviewed separately using the CAN as part of a larger reliability study. For each of 22 areas of need, we assessed agreement on (1) the presence of need, (2) the informal and formal help currently being given, (3) the formal help needed and (4) satisfaction with the type of help being received. Staff and patients rated a similar number of needs, but not in the same areas. There was better agreement between staff and patients regarding needs that have a specific service intervention. Agreement between staff and patient ratings of help received, help given and service satisfaction was low. We concluded that needs are very often assessed differently by staff and patients, which has implications for how needs are assessed in clinical practice.

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Slade, M., Phelan, M., Thornicroft, G. et al. The Camberwell Assessment of Need (CAN): comparison of assessments by staff and patients of the needs of the severely mentally ill. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 31, 109–113 (1996).

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