Title. Northwick Park Care Needs Assessment: adaptation for inpatient neurological rehabilitation settings
Aim. This paper is a report of a study to establish which timings and assumptions of the Northwick Park Dependency Scale and Care Needs Assessment are appropriate to the inpatient rehabilitation setting and which, if any, require adjustment.
Background. Cost-effective provision of nursing care relies on being able to adjust staffing levels in accordance with patient dependency. The Northwick Park Dependency Scale and Care Needs Assessment enables direct assessment of nursing care needs in community settings.
Method. An observational study was conducted in 2004 to record the time taken to complete direct nursing care interventions in a rehabilitation ward and to compare these times with simultaneously recorded time-estimates provided by the Care Needs Assessment. A total of 1168 nursing interactions were timed for 50 care episodes.
Results. There was considerable variation in the time taken for each nursing intervention, depending on overall patient dependency and the number of nurses required. Although there was good correlation between observed care times and those estimated by the Care Needs Assessment, observation confirmed that most interventions took substantially less time than the estimates. There was also a very different pattern of care in hospital compared with the community, with shorter, more frequent interactions as nurses distribute their time between different patients, and activities other than direct patient care.
Conclusion. The Northwick Park Care Needs Assessment tool already has widespread application in other countries and its continued use for estimating community care needs remains relevant. The tool, once fully developed, will have the potential to contribute to international rehabilitation nursing workforce planning and research.