Our programme of work began in 2007 when we realised that whilst it was widely known that support was important during caregiving in terms of carers’ health and well-being, it was not well known which aspects of support were most important to carers. There were also no tools suitable for assessing carers’ support needs in a systematic way within everyday practice.
From the results of these studies, we developed the Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT). Through further work with services using the tool in practice, it became apparent that to benefit carers, the CSNAT needed to be used within a person-centred approach which enables carers to consider, express and prioritise their support needs. Dr Lynn Austin helped to develop which is now known as The CSNAT Approach; a five stage process of assessment and support for carers.
The next step was to understand how The CSNAT Approach could be successfully implemented into routine practice across a range of palliative and end-of-life care services. We conducted a national study with 36 services across the UK, and a smaller case study project with Aryshire Hospice. This results of these projects have since informed the development of our training and implementation toolkit for organisations seeking to implement The CSNAT Approach.