Developing multidisciplinary assessment - Exploring the evidence from a social care perspective

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: This paper provides an initial evaluation of the impact of the Single Assessment Process (SAP) in England upon practice regarding multidisciplinary assessment. Objectives: To investigate changes in recorded health needs of older people and in the number of multidisciplinary assessments undertaken using social care agencies' case files. To examine differences in approaches to the use of multidisciplinary assessment for older people with different health needs. Methods: An audit of case files of older people living in the community in receipt of social care in three areas carried out at two time periods before and after implementation of the SAP in 2004. Information extracted from files covered a number of domains including evidence of multidisciplinary assessments, and presence of mental and physical health problems. Results: Data from 144 files at Time 1 were compared with 145 files from Time 2. Little evidence emerged that older people at Time 2 were more dependent. However, significantly more multidisciplinary assessments were undertaken following the introduction of the SAP, in particular by occupational therapists and secondary health care teams. Cognitive impairment was a significant predictor of multidisciplinary assessment at both time periods. Conclusions: The impact of the introduction of the SAP has been mediated by the influence of other policies in England: intermediate care and integrated health and social care provision. Nevertheless, the data suggest that consideration be given to more effective targeting of multidisciplinary assessments on the grounds of both cost and more accurate identification of those who will benefit from the process. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1297-1305
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational journal of geriatric psychiatry
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • Cognitive impairment
    • Complex needs
    • Multidisciplinary assessment
    • Older people
    • Physical dependency
    • Single Assessment Process


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