5 years ago

Factors influencing practitioner adoption of carer-led assessment in palliative homecare: A qualitative study of the use of the Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT)

Gunn Grande, Gail Ewing, Lynn Austin

by Lynn Austin, Gail Ewing, Gunn Grande


Informal caregivers play a pivotal role in supporting patients approaching the end of life. The Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT) is designed to facilitate person-centred assessment and support through a process that is practitioner-facilitated, but carer-led. This study explored practitioners’ experiences of implementing the CSNAT in palliative homecare.


We conducted qualitative interviews/focus groups with 20 practitioners in one UK hospice homecare service (18 nurses, two healthcare assistants) before and after the implementation of the CSNAT. Thematic analysis of the data was underpinned by framework analysis.


Not all practitioners appreciated that using the CSNAT required a shift towards a more person-centred approach to assessment; consequently they tagged the tool onto their existing practitioner-led practice. Practitioners who did use the CSNAT as intended were able to act as role models and support their colleagues in making this transition. Practitioners’ comments revealed a number of contradictions: 1) Most felt that they ‘already do’ identify carer support needs, but feared using the CSNAT could increase their workload; 2) some worried about introducing the CSNAT ‘too soon’, but recognised that it was ‘too late’ once patients were close to the end of life; 3) whilst practitioners stated ‘they were there for the family as well as the patient’, care provision was overtly centred around patients.


This study provides vital insights into barriers and facilitators to implementing the CSNAT as part of a person-centred approach to assessment. The findings identified the training and support required to help practitioners make this transition to this new way of working.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179287

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