Assessments of need may contribute to identifying health problems associated with functional deterioration in older people. A shorter version of the Camberwell Assessment of Need for the Elderly was developed for routine use in primary care, focusing on five domains: Senses, Physical ability, Incontinence, Cognition, and Emotional distress (SPICE). We aimed to explore its usefulness and feasibility in primary care.
We selected a consecutive sample of 51 community-dwelling older adults. The SPICE interview was completed by GPs and patients, with perceptions about its use in primary care being explored.
Needs were identified in 38 patients. Unmet needs corresponded to 7% of needs overall. ‘Emotional distress’ was the most frequent unmet need. SPICE helped to identify undisclosed needs, was well accepted and its importance in clinical evaluation recognised by GPs and patients, despite concerns about time constraints. Facilitating strategies are needed to improve the feasibility of these assessments in primary care.