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  • Marika Kontellis

Let it Go

Social care practitioners have to let go of their obsession with assessment.

There are more assessment tools out there than I care to mention. The ONI, I-Can, Headspace Psychosocial Assessment for Young People, The ADAT, Scales of Independent Behaviour - Revised (SIB-R), Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Screening Too, Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). I will stop listing them now, but you get the picture. The push to target resources efficiently led to the development of a range of “assessment” tools that were far more focussed on keeping people “out of the system” than truly understanding what intervention will deliver the best impact for an individual at a point in time.

We have become obsessed with “assessing” and it has to stop.

Recently I was supporting a family member and was told that he must have an independent assessment to determine his eligibility for the Community Support Program. I said, sure, but he has already been assessed for other programs and has a plan signed off and ready to go. No they said. This has to be done. No problems I said, how long will it take?. We should be done in three hours. WHAT???? The United Nations must have some Convention on the Rights of the Person Being Assessed. Surely three hours is about torture or interrogation. It can’t be about assessment?

Of course good social care practitioners need to gather information. Of course we need to ensure eligibility to access funded programs and support. But is the process of assessment over valued by the system and by practitioners? With a person’s informed consent, surely we can gather as much as we need to make a professional assessment of needs and provide meaningful advice to people and their families without the need of a three hour session asking repetitive, rhetorical questions.

Let it go. Use your skills to listen and truly understand needs. Use existing information and stop using an assessment tool that tells you no more than you need to know.

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