• health needs;
  • elderly;
  • assessment tools;
  • community care;
  • nursing care

An examination of what constitutes assessment would help to clarify those aspects which are essential for establishing a suitable nursing plan for clients. There is no consensus on one assessment tool in nursing, and many methods are used. The important areas in a comprehensive assessment (physiological, mental, social and environmental factors) which need to be addressed are covered by the Omaha Classification Scheme (OCS). This paper discusses the application of a research tool (OCS) for assessing the health needs of a given population. The primary focus of this paper is upon the methodology used in the study. A random sample of 500 elderly people was drawn from all elderly people aged 65 years and over, who lived in the rural areas of Isfahan province, Iran. Data were collected to identify the health needs of the population under study using the OCS. The reliability of this research tool was tested for quantitative scores using Cronbach's alpha test. The results showed an acceptable score for reliability (r=0.78).