Researchers from the Bolton Clarke Research Institute and University of Melbourne have developed a psycho-social assessment tool to help social workers build proactive partnerships with older people.
The tool – published in Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine – enables all staff, regardless of experience, to use it.
Featuring questions identified as important by experienced social workers supporting older people, the tool acts as a guide for less-experienced social workers.
The tool – developed with input from social workers from Bolton Clarke’s home support team – fills a resources gap, said Bolton Clarke senior research fellow Dr Rajna Orgin.
“Social workers currently working with older people with compromised health and wellbeing in the community identified the lack of evidence-based tools available to them.”
With the aid of the tool – which is geared to assessments being done with older people in their homes – social workers will be able to focus on early identification of issues and help older people make informed and educated choices to shape later life and mitigate against risks, said Dr Ogrin.
“People who want to age at home may require health and aged care support, and the tool helps provide the necessary person-centred review of their home and social context.”
Engaging users to help develop the tool means it includes relevant components and is fit for purpose, said Dr Ogrin. However, she added, further work is needed to integrate social work assessments with other health assessments and to pilot the tool with a broader group of social workers and service users.