Holistic Needs Assessments (HNA)

What is a holistic needs assessment?

A Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) is a simple questionnaire which will help to identify any concerns you are experiencing. Your responses will help to start a conversation with your Health Care Team to talk through your needs and concerns.

It is called holistic because you can discuss any needs or concerns you have about any area of your life. It is not only about the physical symptoms of cancer or the side effects of treatment. 

Please watch this video from Macmillan which explains a Holistic Needs Assessment in more detail.

Why do I need a holistic needs assessment?

As part of your care, doctors, nurses and other health professionals will need to gather information from you as part of your medical treatment. During the assessment, you can decide how much information you would like to share and you will have the opportunity to talk about any worries or concerns you may be currently experiencing.

This will allow the team to address your concerns and together you can develop a personalised care and support plan including referrals to relevant services for health and well-being information and support tailored to your individual needs. Alternatively if you prefer, you can be given written information about these services.

Many patients find having an assessment helpful as it can help to identify what support is available. However, you do have the opportunity to decline this offer, and perhaps chose to have one at a later time.

Please see the video below from Macmillan which explains the benefits of having a holistic needs assessment.

What is the electronic holistic needs assessment (eHNA)?

The electronic Holistic Needs Assessment (eHNA) is a way of a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) over the internet which is simple and secure. All you will need is a digital device, such as a smartphone, tablet or computer with a web browser.

Click the green banner below to access the Macmillan electronic Holistic Needs Assessment. This will open in a new page.

When will I have a holistic needs assessment?

A holistic needs assessment may be offered at certain times during your care, including:

  • Around the time of diagnosis or start of your treatment.
  • The end of your treatment-when your surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy has been completed.
  • Any time that you ask for one.

It will most likely be carried out by the Clinical Nurse Specialist or Cancer Care Co-ordinator involved in your care.  

You can be given a copy of what was discussed during the assessment if this would be helpful for you. A copy can also be shared with your GP with your consent.

Additional information

Please see the links below on further information from Macmillan regarding Holistic Needs Assessments.

Macmillan extra support leaflet

Holistic Needs Assessment leaflet