UCL News


Needs of the elderly addressed

5 July 2004

A new book detailing a successful system for assessing the needs of older people with dementia has been published by Gaskell Publications.

Professor Martin Orrell Professor Martin Orrell and Dr Geraldine Hancock of UCL's Department of Mental Health Sciences developed the system and authored the book together.

The system, known as the Camberwell Assessment of Need for the Elderly (CANE), targets 24 areas of potential need in older people with dementia. Recommended by the Department of Health for the single assessment process introduced in the National Service Framework for Older People, it provides a comprehensive and holistic means of measuring the physical, social, psychological and environmental needs of older people.

The CANE was developed by Professor Orrell, Dr Hancock and colleagues in response to research which showed how the assessment of individual needs corresponded strongly with an older individual's health and quality of life. When needs are ignored, many older people with dementia experience health problems, both physically and psychologically, said Professor Orrell, explaining that the CANE helps clinicians to pinpoint areas of risk for an older person. He said: "The system offers a structured and generic assessment that can be applied by any competent health or social care professional. When implemented, it allows for sound clinical judgement that can be used alongside existing care protocols and pathways. It has a strong record of reliability and can be adapted to older people from a diverse range of settings and cultural backgrounds."

Following the successful adoption of the CANE in many countries worldwide, the book was published to provide a comprehensive guide to the use of the CANE. It includes a manual, training pack, examples of the successful application of the CANE and results of studies carried out in day hospitals and long-term care facilities. Professor Orrell said: "The CANE has been shown to be a very useful measure for assessing the needs of older people and can also be used to evaluate services. This book will enable the researcher and clinicians interested in the CANE to have access to the latest version of the instrument. There are now 25 countries using the CANE and the number of translations available is steadily increasing."