Client Assessment in a remote setting

Client assessment in a remote setting, make sure your client feels comfortable.

Assessment and Care Planning are important aspects of care delivery. Without these, you have no way of knowing what your client needs. You don't have a base line to evaluate how the services you are providing are meeting their needs.

In the past many remote services have accepted clients on to the books with only a cursory examination of the client’s needs – they tended to take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to service provision. The focus needs to change to one where the assessor, the client and the family work together to identify what the client and their family need and how best to deliver that help.

One common complaint from remote coordinators is that they don’t have the time to conduct regular, thorough assessments or update the care plan annually. I understand that – I’ve been a remote coordinator too. There are numerous demands on a coordinator’s time. They often need to take on the role of the cook, the personal care attendant and the delivery driver on days when staff don’t turn up for work. Unfortunately, this is not an acceptable excuse when you are being audited. So, how can you fit these essential duties into your timetable? Here are some tips:


  • Firstly put aside a day each week when you can conduct an assessment or a review. Look over your week: when is your quietest day? This should become your client review and assessment day.
  • Be prepared! Spend some time before you meet with the client and their family gathering or reviewing basic client information and pre-populating fields in the assessment form, rather than have the client sit around while this is done.
  • In a remote setting, you will have staff who may be related in some way to the client. Utilise their knowledge of the client and the aged care industry to fill you in on what areas you may need to concentrate on during your assessment.


  • Make sure your client and their carer feel comfortable about the location of the assessment. This may be out on their verandah or under a tree rather than in the home. Some clients prefer the assessment to take place at the aged care centre away from the home. This is okay as long as you ensure the home assessment is completed where required.
  • Don’t ask redundant questions. By this I mean don’t ask questions of the client when you already know the answer – it slows down the process and can annoy the client. By all means, check information where required.
  • Where possible, deliver the assessment questions as part of a conversation; this makes it seem less like an interview. Let the client and their family direct the conversation and listen. You'll probably  find that you can get a lot of answers just from listening to a family discussion – a local worker/interpreter can assist in cases where you don’t speak the language.


  • When it comes to reassessment, ensure you are keeping client progress notes up to date. This will assist you in identifying any areas to focus on in your visit.
  • Many times, the information will not have changed much, so this visit is really about checking on any modifications required to the client information and care plan.

Are you a coordinator? What tips can you share to others about keeping client assessments and care plans up to date? Let us know in the comments!

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