Opinion

Community fit assessments: ensuring the right placement, the first time round 

Louise Allan, Senior Clinical Assessment Specialist at Exemplar Health Care

Louise Allan, Senior Clinical Assessment Specialist at Exemplar Health Care, works hand in hand with professionals to ensure that adults with complex needs receive the right care, from the right team, the first time round. In this article, she explains more about community fit assessments, and why it’s an essential part of the assessment process for people moving into a care home.

 When a referral is made to a care home, a lot of potential placements will base the outcome of their assessment on a slim group of criteria; usually ‘can we meet this person’s needs’ and ‘do we have a bed available’?

But deciding where a person is going to live for the next few weeks, months or years, is about so much more than that. That’s why the questions that we ask during a community fit assessment are so important.

How many of us would be prepared to move into a home with a group of strangers, unless someone had given consideration to how we would get along – Do we share any life experiences? Are we in a similar age bracket? Do we share any cultural values? Are there any peers that might, one day, become our friend?

A community fit assessment considers all of these things and ensures that the home is going to be right for the individual.

‘Community fit’ refers to a type of assessment that ensures that a care home is the right fit for an individual, and that the individual is the right fit for the care home and the other people who live there.

During an assessment, the assessors are also advocating for the residents already living in the home; how might they react to their new housemate? Will it be someone that they are afraid of, or someone that makes a lot of noise? Might this person de-stabilise others and the progress that they have made in the home so far?

Having a good community fit of residents within a care home ensures that people receive the highest standards of care and improves their rehabilitation and care outcomes.

Conducting a community fit is all about putting the individual at the center of your assessment. It means observing the individual in their current environment, meeting someone face to face, getting a sense of their ‘presence’ within a room, having a conversation with them and asking the right questions. It means finding out what makes them ‘tick’, their likes and dislikes, and who and what’s important in their life.

The expert Referrals Team at Exemplar Health Care places a lot of emphasis on the answers to all of these questions during the community fit element of the assessment process.

Admissions to our homes are not just about filling beds; they are about creating a community, and considering the social, emotional and psychological needs of the people within that community.

We’ve found that this approach builds a more harmonious and homely environment within our services, which makes our residents feel at ease and results in placements, ultimately, being more successful.

Exemplar Health Care has 32 specialist care homes across England for adults living with complex and high acuity needs.

Find out more at: www.exemplarhc.com

 

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