Psychological Medicine

Research Article

Principles and practice of measuring needs in the long-term mentally ill: the MRC Needs for Care Assessment

C. R. Brewina1 c1, J. K. Winga1, S. P. Mangena1, T. S. Brughaa1 and B. MacCarthya1

a1 MRC Social Psychiatry Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, London


We report the development of a new procedure for assessing the needs for treatment and care of the long-term mentally ill. This procedure covers 21 areas of clinical and social functioning, and in each of these specifies appropriate interventions. Decision rules are described which permit problems in functioning to be primarily classified as a met need, an unmet need, or as involving no need, and which allow the identification of various secondary needs. We report preliminary data on the reliability and validity of this procedure and discuss its potential applications in the care of the long-term mentally ill.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr C R Brewin. MRC Social Psychiatry Unit. Institute of Psychiatry. Dc Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF.