Patient-centered needs assessment: Rationale for a psychometric measure for assessing needs in heart failure

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Journal Article
Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 2004, 19 (3), pp. 164 - 171
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Determining an individual's unique perspective of an illness experience remains a challenge for clinicians, administrators, and researchers. A range of concepts and psychometric measures have been developed and evaluated to capture this information. These include patient satisfaction, quality of life, and utility measures. Needs assessment as a tool for evaluating perceptions of health status and determining patient satisfaction and treatment plans has been explored in oncology. Studies have demonstrated that a high proportion of patients have unmet needs in relation to activities of daily living, information sources, and comfort. Heart failure (HF), a condition with significant individual and societal burden, mirrors the illness of experience of cancer, as individuals process issues related to prognosis, treatment regimens, and decreased functional status. A needs-based assessment of health status, expectations, and perceptions is patient-centered and has the capacity to not only evaluate current health status but also plan and project care plans. Needs assessment is a dynamic construct rather than a point in time consistent with other assessment modalities, such as quality of life. Multidimensional needs assessment allows for planning and projection of needs, not only on an individual but also a population basis. Implicit in the exploration of needs is an expectation of level of care to be provided, from both the provider and recipient of care. In many instances a misalignment may exist between services and resources available to the individual. This article seeks to provide a theoretical justification for the development of a needs assessment instrument for patients with HF and to discuss the rationale of this method of assessment to create better alignment and resources with patients needs and expectations. © 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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