What information should be gleaned from a needs assessment?
A thorough needs assessment implemented in conjunction with a client-centered approach enables the Service Coordinator to develop an in-depth understanding of the resident’s challenges and strengths. Service Coordinators should tailor the assessment to address the unique circumstances of the individual or family. In addition to identifying any urgent needs (e.g., resolving an acute medical issue), the assessment should identify long-term challenges that could be addressed through participation in ROSS.
The needs assessment serves as a starting point from which the Service Coordinator and client can together develop a comprehensive Individual Training and Services Plan (ITSP). The ITSP should include goals to guide the client’s participation in the ROSS program over time and identify the service providers needed to help the client achieve those goals. The ITSP is discussed in more detail later in this module.
Special considerations by household type
When using an existing assessment tool or developing questions for your own assessment tool, it is important to take into consideration the type of household being assessed and how that may affect service needs. For example, an elderly or disabled participant will have different needs than a household with children.
For each part of the assessment, it can be helpful to ask if the resident is currently connected to any other programs related to that section. This information will help the Service Coordinator identify areas in which the resident is already well supported, and areas in which the resident could use more support.
Service Coordinators should take notes during their conversations to record critical observations, such as signs of malnutrition or domestic violence, which could influence the needs assessment and connection to services.
Many of these topic areas involve sensitive situations for residents. Service Coordinators should take steps to build trust with residents and create a confidential and safe environment in which residents are comfortable discussing personal issues. To learn more about ways to approach sensitive subjects and effectively communicate with residents, see the section Recommendations for creating and maintaining a confidential and welcoming environment for residents.