In recent years, the role of non-medical community mental health team (CMHT) clinicians has widened to include new patient assessments. It is unclear whether all professionals have the skills and confidence to undertake these to a high quality. This project investigated which professionals are doing new assessments, evaluated their quality and explored the assessors' unmet training needs. The study was based on the data extracted from electronic notes and a complete audit cycle in South Oxfordshire Older Adults CMHT; this was a cross-sectional study across Oxfordshire older adults services.
Most new assessments (72.4%) were done by non-medical clinicians; the majority were missing important information, especially relating to medications and risk assessment. Only 75% of assessors felt at least ‘partially confident’ to do assessments and found them stressful, with 86% keen to undertake further training.
Simple measures such as an assessment form, a programme of training seminars and adequate supervision, delivered to all CMHT clinicians, can ensure high-quality assessment in diverse clinical environments.
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