Holistic Needs Assessment and Care Plan

Holistic Needs Assessments: what are they and how do they affect my care?

Holistic is a term that is used to describe all the needs that you might encounter as an 
individual. We know that cancer can affect many areas of your life and as a result your individual 
needs may change. As part of your ongoing care we offer you an assessment to ensure that, wherever 
possible, all your concerns and needs are being addressed. This is what we call a Holistic Needs 
Assessment (HNA).

A HNA gives you a chance to think about your concerns and discuss possible solutions. It has three 

  • A simple set of questions to identify any concerns you may
  • have.
  • A discussion with your health professional or Cancer
  • Support Worker.
  • Development of a written care plan.

The questions may be answered on paper or electronically and will take around ten minutes to 
complete. You can choose to be sent the check list of questions in advance or you can fill one out 
at the time of the appointment.

You will then meet with the health care professional to discuss the issues you have and help you 
consider possible solutions. Together you will agree on a plan of action to address your concerns. 
This is then written down as your care plan. You will receive a copy of this plan to take away, or 
a copy will be sent to you. Alternatively you can choose to hold the care planning discussion over 
the telephone and your care plan will be sent to you.

A HNA is designed to look at your individual needs and you can decide what is included.

Benefits of having a HNA:

  • You can get information and support with any concerns you
  • may have.
  • It can help you to prioritise your most important concerns.
  • It can help you feel more in control and involved in your
  • care.
  • Your healthcare professional can refer you to other services, if this would help.
  • It can help you to plan ahead from diagnosis through to treatment and life after treatment.

The discussion may include concerns such as:

  • Physical symptoms (for example weight loss, appetite or
  • eating and tiredness).
  • Emotional concerns (for example worries about the future
  • and relationships).
  • Practical issues (for example sorting out housework and where to get equipment that can help).
  • Job, money or housing worries (for example balancing work and treatment, and benefits or 
  • financial advice).
  • Spiritual concerns (for example your faith or beliefs, and
  • any impact this may be having).

You will be contacted by telephone to arrange an appointment. You are welcome to bring a family member or friend with you when the discussion takes place.

© North Bristol NHS Trust. This edition published Nov 2021. Review due Nov 2023. NBT003095