The Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool Intervention (CSNAT-I)

Enabling tailored support for carers in everyday practice

What is the Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool Intervention (CSNAT-I)?

CSNAT-I is an intervention for supporting carers (family members/friends in an unpaid supportive role), delivered using a five-stage person-centred process of assessment and support. The intervention uses an evidence-based, comprehensive tool (the CSNAT) comprising 15 domains (broad areas of support need). The tool enables carers to identify, express and prioritise domains where they need more support. Then a needs-led conversation explores the carer’s individual needs and what they feel would be helpful, enabling the delivery of tailored support.

CSNAT-I is introduced to the carer, as the start of a conversation about support the carer may need, separate from the needs of the patient. The CSNAT (the tool itself) is given to the carer to complete

The carer considers the 15 evidence-based questions on the tool and indicates whether they need more support in any of the domains. Then carers are asked to consider and prioritise which of the domains they most want to discuss with a practitioner.

The assessment conversation is a needs-led conversation. The focus is on the domains prioritised by carer, not all tool domains. The practitioner explores the carer’s individual support needs in each of the prioritised domains and what the carer would find helpful in meeting those needs.

Shared action planning documents the conversation with the carer. The carer’s individual needs that have been identified and the agreed actions taken to meet those needs are recorded on the CSNAT-I Support Plan.

We know that carers’ needs change over time, so the Support Plan should be reviewed for effectiveness and consideration given to repeating CSNAT-I at another point in time.

The CSNAT is an evidence based, comprehensive tool comprising a set of domains (broad areas of support need) in which carers commonly say they require more support. It acts as a prompt for carers to indicate where they need more support.

The tool was developed and validated in a series of research studies working with bereaved and current carers of patients with cancer and palliative conditions including COPD and MND/ALS.

The current version of CSNAT (v3.0) has 15 domains and includes an ‘anything else’ section where carers can write in any support need not covered by the other domains. It uses a simple question and answer format to ask which areas carers need more support with and what are their priorities for discussion.

CSNAT (v3.0) is intended for use with carers of people with chronic and progressive conditions, including cancer.

The CSNAT is protected by copyright, which is why only an extract is shown here. Go to the Licensing section to download an inspection copy of the full CSNAT.

CSNAT-I is used mostly as an intervention for practice where the purpose of the tool (CSNAT) is to help carers identify and express their support needs to a practitioner.

It acts as a prompt to help start a needs-led conversation about their unmet support needs which can then enable support to be tailored to meet their specific needs.

However, as the CSNAT is an evidence-based, comprehensive tool comprising 15 domains (broad areas of support need), it can be used as a ‘standalone’ research tool.

Its purpose as a research tool is to enable the identification of domains of unmet support needs within a research study.

Watch this video on the benefits of using CSNAT-I for carers and practitioners, explained by Kay Greene, Director of Clinical Services, Mary Ann Evans Hospice.