in-person care assessment

In-Person Care Assessment: What Is It and Why It Is Important

Learn what an In-Person Care Assessment is and its importance in allowing us to understand the level and kind of care our loved ones need.

by Elaine Francis, R.N.

When a loved one begins to need more care and support at home, it isn’t always easy to work out exactly what those care needs are. Sometimes, it’s hard to understand how our loved one’s care needs tally up with the kind of support that’s available, too. An in-person care assessment is an individualised professional assessment which can help us get the right kind of support from experienced carers.  

What is an In-Person Care Assessment?

Everyone’s care needs are different, so anyone with emerging support needs can benefit from an individual, holistic and person-centred assessment. Assessing a person’s care needs can sometimes take a multidisciplinary effort to form a good understanding of an individual’s situation. This includes their mobility, their health and medical needs, their memory and mental state, and any other basic or complex care requirements. A person’s ability to perform their normal activities of daily living informs the amount of care they will need to have; someone may need help with washing and dressing every day, whereas another person might just need support when they want to get in and out of a bathtub or shower.

The importance of person-centred care

When it comes to home care, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Apart from different care needs, a personal assessment will include an appraisal of a person as a whole, with their personal preferences paramount. Person-centred care means putting the individual first, and including them and their personal networks of family and friends in any care planning. A person-centred care plan means that decisions are made by the most important people in partnership with experienced professionals.

Person-centred care respects the rights of the individual in need of support, with an understanding that carers and support workers should be able to fit in seamlessly to enable the individual to live the best life they can, whether that means intensive medical and nursing care or simply a little extra support to stay as independent as possible.

Why have an IPCA?

When we’re arranging care services for a loved one, it isn’t always easy to work out exactly what their care needs are, and how that tallies with the kind of services available. Many people simply don’t know how much care is available to them. A care assessor is a trained, experienced professional with a background in care, nursing, or an allied health profession who can work out exactly what your loved one needs and how to arrange the best package of care to meet those needs.

An experienced care facilitator can create a care plan which incorporates the most important aspects of your loved one’s physical and emotional needs and provide trained carers to meet those needs. A care facilitator creates more than a care plan; they create an environment where workers can provide safe, empathetic and person-centred care.

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What happens during an IPCA?

Ideally, an IPCA will happen at the place where the person will receive most of their care. This means that an assessor can see what they’re like in their own environment, and make a plan based on the person’s needs, wants, and surroundings. An in-person care assessment will take into account:

A person’s physical care needs

What kind of personal care they need, including washing and dressing, continence management, and basic help around the home.

Lifestyle support needs

Someone who wishes to pursue activities and interests outside the home may need a different care package from someone who is housebound.

Mobility needs

Mobility aids and equipment, the number of people needed to help with seat-to-seat transfers or use of a hoist. An assessor can also advise on how to get further support for home adaptations or aids – this also helps care providers make sure that carers are able to use the equipment in a safe environment.


Communication is always key, and a rounded care assessment should identify barriers and challenges, with the aim of overcoming barriers. It may be possible to arrange a care team who speak the same language as their client, or who can use sign language or have experience in other methods of communication where necessary

Personal preferences and lifestyle

Carers are there to support people to live safe, healthy and happy lives as much as possible. Supporting people to meet their spiritual and religious needs is an important part of a carer’s job. Other things that are important to people may be following a certain diet, seeing friends and family, and getting out to favourite places or activities.

Medical needs

Some home care providers can arrange more in-depth nursing or medical care in the community – this can range from wound care or stoma care to meeting complex care needs, including home mechanical ventilation and tracheotomy care.

Personal history

A good care provider sees their clients as more than just people in need of care; they are people with histories, hobbies, interests, thoughts and feelings. Some of the most important things to get to know are what a person likes, from something as simple as what they like to watch on the television to something as complex as their emotional response to a bereavement.


A good care provider should be able to work around an individual’s routine – again, there is no one-size-fits-all care plan, and so each person should be able to make their own choices about what time they want to get up, eat, and sleep.

Sometimes it isn’t possible to make an IPCA based on a home visit; sometimes, care needs to be arranged to get someone home from a hospital or short-term care setting. An assessor can visit someone in hospital and may be able to benefit from the input of the multidisciplinary team who have been involved in the care of that individual. A visit to the client’s home with a family member is still useful to assess the physical environment where the care will be taking place.

Case Study: How an IPCA helped Mrs Suraini

Mrs Suraini* was adamant that she wanted to stay in her own home as she got older. Her children visited her at least once a day, helping with her shopping, cooking and cleaning. Her walking was getting a little slower, and she got out of breath quickly but she felt alright going at her own pace at home. One day, Mrs Suraini had a fall at home and was unable to get up. She spent around three hours on the floor until her daughter visited, and then had to have a long stay in hospital.

Mrs Suraini was nervous about going home, and even more worried about losing her independence. She was particularly worried that she wouldn’t be able to enjoy outside activities as she wasn’t always able to get to the toilet on time. Mrs Suraini’s family arranged for an In-Person Care Assessment to see what kind of support would be available to help her live the kind of life she wanted to live, in a safe and secure way.

A professional care assessor visited Mrs Suraini in the hospital so that they could make sure the right support was in place for getting her home safely. They discussed and assessed her specific needs and wants, and then also visited her home to appraise the home environment and see whether there were any safety issues that could be addressed before her discharge from the hospital. Carers were arranged to visit three times a day to help with washing and dressing, meal preparation and medication reminders.

When Mrs Suraini was feeling better and confident around the home, her home care provider was able to arrange for a carer to come for a full afternoon once a week to help Mrs Suraini attend a day centre. Mrs Suraini now enjoys socialising again, safe in the knowledge that the carer would help with any personal care needs that might arise while she was out.

*Name changed for privacy. 

How much does an IPCA cost?

The average cost of an in-person care assessment in Singapore is around $64.80, and there is no obligation to go with a provider after an assessment.

Arranging an IPCA

With an IPCA, Homage can help you to plan for your loved one’s holistic care experience, where you can tap on our home care services, nursing services, to therapy services for your loved one’s daily living and recovery needs.

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About the Writer
Elaine Francis, R.N.
Elaine Francis is a registered nurse with 17 years’ experience in healthcare. She turned to writing to follow her passion for realistic medical communication. She loves translating medical jargon into accessible language for the people who need to understand it most. When she’s not writing or working on a busy cardiology unit, she spends her time telling her children to hurry up.
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