SOCW 6311 Week 8 Assignment – Needs Assessment

SOCW 6311

This will be a busy week, but the work can be done in \\\”chunks\\\” so it is not overwhelming.

This week, we will explore needs assessments and see their role in the logic model. You will learn how needs assessments are conducted (see attached handouts).

It might seem that we are working backwards – because we are! This week, we tackle the topic of needs assessments. Needs assessments provide the foundation for developing our programs and choosing the details (interventions) to achieve the short-term benefits and long-term impacts, demonstrated on the logic models (Week 7). Once those details are planned and implemented, they can be evaluated (Week 6) Awareness of the evaluation is essential for ensuring that the interventions are clear and measurable, and interventions are based on the needs that have been identified.

Even though we addressed these topics in reverse order, we justify it because it is hard to work on program components without understanding clearly what happens next and how those components have to be explored in order to provide the basis for a program or service.

The assignment involves several tables and a logic model template as well as one reflection question.

As you will see, we have shifted from spending most of our time learning new information to thinking about how it is applied in a social work context.

I am also sending a handout that is an example of a needs assessment for persons with Alzheimer’s disease so you can see an actual sample of a needs assessment. The approach used by these researchers was designed to obtain a comprehensive needs assessment regarding the problem of dementia in their community. This example is far beyond what we are doing in the assignment, but I wanted you to see what a detailed needs assessment might look like. Please look it over quickly to see how extensively the researchers in a dementia study surveyed the community and the wide range of needs they discovered.

Please contact me if you have any difficulties with the work assigned this week.

I look forward to your ideas.

 

Week 8 Assignment – Needs Assessment

 

This assignment is similar to the requirements in the Weekly Dashboard but is organized slightly differently with emphasis on the needs assessment.   

 

Your assignment requires you to design a needs assessment plan and develop a program plan based on what your needs assessment reveals.

Instead of writing a paper detailing the elements of a program, I am requesting that you place the elements of a program in tables (Table 1 and Table 2 provided below) and place the details of the program in a logic model template.  Tables and logic models are the typical formats for presenting a program plan to stakeholders and funders today.

 

At the end of the logic model, please answer the question listed in Step 4. Complete the assignment with a reference list of the articles cited in the paper.

 

Please do not use a title page. Place your name and “Week 8 Assignment” in the top margin.

 

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Information to guide your work in this assignment.

Programs exist to fill gaps in services.  In learning about gaps in services, you must discover the formal and informal resources and assets that are already present in your community because you will build upon them, not replace them.

According to Galaxy Digital (2020), conducting a needs assessment involves the three important steps:

  1. “Your goal is to understand the culture and social structure of your community to better target your program.” While gathering information, learn about these important aspects of the community affected by the problem you hope to mitigate:
  2. who is most affected by the problem or need?
  3. what do the people you hope to serve care about – their values, beliefs, and attitudes (particularly toward the services you hope to offer)?
  4. Be realistic about the limits of your resources, expertise, and time for researching community needs. Over-extending yourself with reduce the quality of the information you obtain.

 

 

  1. Cultivate a network of contacts. The Center for Community Development (2017) identifies these groups as important informants on the needs of the community and community characteristics:
  • Those experiencing needs that should be addressed. […] They know best what effects the conditions have on their lives, and including them in the planning process is more likely to produce a plan that actually speaks to their needs.
  • Health and human service providers. These individuals and organizations, especially those that are community-based, often have both a deep understanding of the community and a strong empathic connection with the populations they serve. They can be helpful both by sharing their knowledge and by recruiting people from marginalized populations to contribute to the assessment. [These would include social workers who work with the people affected by a problem.]
  • Government officials. Elected and appointed officials…can help or hinder a community change effort. Engaging them in planning and carrying out an assessment helps to ensure that they will take the effort seriously and work to make it successful.
  • Influential people. These…[may] include individuals who are identified as leaders …because of the prestige of their positions – doctors, professors, judges, clergy – or because they are known to be people of intelligence, integrity, and good will who care about the community.
  • People whose jobs or lives could be affected by the eventual actions taken as a result of the assessment. These may include [staff of helping organizations], police, emergency department personnel, landlords, and others who might have to react [to] new community [programs] and procedures.
  • Community activists. People who have been involved in addressing policy or issues that could come up in the course of the assessment have a stake [in future programming].
  • [Families, employers, or others involved with program participants]

                            Center for Community Development (2017).

 

Note about this assignment: Since this assignment pertains to a fictional group, you may fabricate details that you think may be appropriate or rely on information you have obtained in your work or through interviews.

 

 

 

Your assignment:

Envision yourself as a new social worker, recently hired as a community organizer for the local office of the National Association of American Advocates For Resiliency (NA3R) in Waldentowne, USA.

Members of the group Concerned Citizens of Waldentown, Inc. have approached your agency (NA3R) with a request for a group for caregivers in their community. You are assigned to select the type of group that will be offered and arrange it,  but you are unfamiliar with the area and have not yet met many of the individuals and groups who may have a stake in a caregiver program.

Your first task is to develop a plan for gathering information about the needs of the community for groups for caregivers. Information about gathering information about assessing community needs and resources can be found here: Chapter 3, Section 2 of the Community Toolbox  which demonstrates how to approach the problem of exploring a need in the community.

 

 

Step 1:

Your first step is understanding the culture and social structure of your community (Galaxy Digital, n.d.) and building a network of contacts.

 

  1. If you could be transported to Waldentowne, your first task would be to cultivate a network of contacts for information and to become allies for your efforts.

 

Select three sources of information that you would choose for your search regarding community needs for a caregiver group from the list on page 2 or other relevant sources you may know.

 

Explain why these sources would have important information for understanding the need for the caregiver group and  ideas for the successful creation of your caregiver group. (You may use your imagination or knowledge for the rationale). (Maximum: 2 sentences of rationale per information source). Enter these features into Table 1.

 

Table 1:

 

Information Source Rationale for choice of information source
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Gather information regarding the need.

 

You learn that due to severe storms, your flight to Waldentowne has been cancelled. Since you cannot go to Waldentowne  and complete this assignment on time, you must obtain information on caregivers and/or caregiver needs from three sources, by either of the following two options:

2a. You may obtain information from an actual caregiver or a social worker who works with caregivers AND two peer-reviewed articles available in the Walden library

—or—

2b. You may obtain information about caretakers and/or their needs from three peer-reviewed articles available in the Walden library.

 

** For either option (2a or 2b) at least one article must be from a social work journal.

Do not select articles from nursing, as their goals are different from social work.  If you are unfamiliar with searching in the Walden library, tips are provided at the end of this assignment.

 

The information you select should offer different perspectives on these needs due to different professions, purposes, or functions of the sources of information in the community.

Needs can pertain to a broad scope of functions and circumstances including social services, law, relationships with health care providers, transportation, housing, community programs, family caregiving, etc.). Your informant may have knowledge of the scope, frequency, urgency, or impact of the need. Information from a social work perspective must be included as one or more of your sources (actual or fictional).

Place your findings in Table 2. An example of Table 2 is below it.

Table 2. Sources of information on caregiver needs

Source/informant. For interviews, state the role of the person interviewed (caregivers, social worker, etc.)  or list the article in this table as an in-text citation in APA format. Observation or knowledge from information source (choose 1 or 2 – both if the information is available; 2 sentences maximum per source/informant):

1) What does the interviewee or article report about characteristics of caregivers?

2) What does the interviewee or article report about do the informants know or observe about the needs of caregivers?

   
   
   

 

Example of Table 2 (only two sources are provided in this example):

Source/informant. Observation or knowledge from information source

 

SW colleague at the United Cerebral Palsy Association (personal communication, July, 2021) Many parents of children with cerebral palsy do not know that there are financial aids besides Social Security to get assistive technology that improves communication between the child and their caregivers
Raina, et al. (2005)

[Place the complete citation in your reference list.]

“The use of more stress management strategies was associated with better psychological health of caregivers”,  p. 634.

 

 

Step 3: Logic model

 

3a. Summarize the needs assessment into a situation statement and place it at the top of the logic model. Include these elements:

  1. information about the caregivers in Waldentowne (use your imagination if necessary)
  2. a brief description of the needs that you have discovered which your organization (NA3R) will attempt to address through a caregiver group
  3. The mission, values, and/or capability of your organization (NA3R) that indicate that it can successfully implement the proposed program. (3 sentences – be concise).

 

 

3b. Complete the logic model. Remove the questions currently in the columns (these are to help you with the logic model) and place your own responses in them.   The template is on the next page.

 

 

 

 

 

Program Title

 

Situation statement: 

 

 

Inputs Outputs Outcomes
Initial Intermediate Long-term  
Resources needed for the program  such as staff, space, time, funds, equipment,        stakeholder support General description of activities and services that will be provided by the program Activity and service logistics:

What person(s)  provide the service, where, when, how, any other details

Who are the recipients and/or participants for the activity or service provided in the 2nd column? Changes by participant or recipient in attitudes, knowledge, or perceptions during the program that enable positive changes Changes by participant or recipient in skills, abilities, or behaviors that will produce positive long-term outcomes Changes for participant, recipient, or others indirectly affected by the situation  
What resources do we already have?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

__________

 

What resources will we need?

 

Activity #1 Details Provided to: Activity #1 produced:

 

 

 

     
   

 

 

 

   
Activity #2 Details Provided to: Activity #2 produced:

 

     
     

 

 

 

 

 
Activity #3 Details Provided to: Activity #3 produced:

 

     
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
What (if anything) will the participants provide,  contribute, or perform?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details Provided to: Participant effort produced:      

 

Step 4:  In 2-3 sentences, describe some new or interesting information you learned this week about the process of conducting needs assessments.

 

Step 5: List your references in APA format beneath the question in Step 4.

 

If you are unfamiliar with searching for peer-reviewed articles in the Walden library, the steps are provided below.

 

How to locate a peer reviewed article about caregivers or the needs of people providing care for individuals with special needs (family and friend caregivers, not professional in-home providers of care).

Example: Using the search function with the items listed below, 26 different articles come up describing a wide range of problems and diagnoses of individuals served by caregivers. For this assignment, you must cite at least one social work article that describes needs of caregivers. Do not use articles from nursing journals as their perspectives and goals are often different from those in social work.

 

I opened the Walden library webpage and put “caregiving” in the search bar.

 

This took me to the next page where I could provide more details.  I put caregiving, needs assessment, and social work in the search bars.  204 articles came up.  It is likely that at least 40 of these articles will be relevant for your information search on caregivers and their needs.

 

Assignments are due by 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time (MT) on the day assigned (Sunday, April 25) which is 1:59 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) on Monday morning). The time stamp in the classroom will reflect Eastern Time (ET), regardless of your time zone. As long as your submission time stamp is no later than 1:59 a.m. Eastern Time (ET), you have submitted on time.

 

Center for Community Health and Development. (2017). Chapter 3, Section 1: Developing a plan for assessing local needs and resources. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas. https:// https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing-community-needs-and-resources/develop-a-plan/main

Center for Community Health and Development. (2017). Chapter 3, Section 2: Understanding and describing the community. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas. https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing-community-needs-and-resources/describe-the-community/main

Galaxy Digital (n.d.). How to conduct a community needs assessment. Galaxy Digital. https://www.galaxydigital.com/blog/community-needs-assessment/

 

Example of questions asked of caregivers for individuals with dementia to provide you with a sample of closed- and open-ended questions asked by the ACT on Alzheimer’s researchers as part of a community needs assessment regarding gaps in services to people with dementia and those who care for them.

 

Excerpted from Community Needs Assessment developed by the  ACT on Alzheimer’s organization (www.ACTonALZ.org), developed in part with funding provided by the Twin Cities United Way.

 

Caregivers of people with dementia need education and training about the disease and care needs. They also need information about services and supports available in the community.

 

For caregivers, is education and training provided in your community about Alzheimer’s disease and care needs? Is information about services and supports in the community offered? (Caregiver Supports Questions)

☐ Yes     ☐ No      ☐ Unsure

If yes, list trainings and briefly describe them. Rate how well these trainings are attended, on a scale from 0 to 3, with 3 being the highest.

 

Education and trainings offered to caregivers of people with dementia (title, audience, training host) Rate overall participation level

None             Low         Moderate          High

  ☐ 0           ☐ 1          ☐ 2           ☐ 3
  ☐ 0           ☐ 1          ☐ 2           ☐ 3
  ☐ 0           ☐ 1          ☐ 2           ☐ 3

 

  Q7 – Level of Current Activity Q7 – Priority for Action
  Indicate your level of agreement with this statement: Caregivers of people with dementia in our community currently receive adequate information, education and training on dementia. Indicate your level of agreement with this statement: Increased information, education and training on dementia for caregivers of people with dementia should be a priority for action in our community.
1.    Strongly disagree

2.    Disagree

3.    Neither agree or disagree

4.    Agree

5.    Strongly agree

0.    Do not know

1.    Strongly disagree

2.    Disagree

3.    Neither agree or disagree

4.    Agree

5.    Strongly agree

0.    Do not know

What opportunities do you see for information, education and training on dementia for caregivers of people with dementia?  What barriers do you see?

 

Counseling and support groups specific for caregivers of people with dementia Currently available Which organization(s) provide these
counseling services?
Individual counseling ☐ Yes        ☐ No  
Family counseling ☐ Yes        ☐ No  
Support groups ☐ Yes        ☐ No  
Other (please specify) ☐ Yes        ☐ No  

 

Q10 – Level of Current Activity Q10 – Priority for Action
Indicate your level of agreement with this statement: Our community has an adequate level of counseling/support groups for caregivers of people with dementia. Indicate your level of agreement with this statement: Increasing the level of counseling/support groups for caregivers of people with dementia should be a priority for action in our community.
1.    Strongly disagree

2.    Disagree

3.    Neither agree or disagree

4.    Agree

5.    Strongly agree

0.    Do not know

1.    Strongly disagree

2.    Disagree

3.    Neither agree or disagree

4.    Agree

5.    Strongly agree

0.    Do not know

 

What do you see as barriers and opportunities for providing counseling/support groups for caregivers of people with dementia and/or their families?

 

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