An assessment is a comprehensive description of a patient’s condition designed to constitute a basis for treating or otherwise managing that condition. One systematic approach to assessment requires identifying the patient’s physical, psychological, social, and vocational complaints, problems or disabilities. Having been identified, these may be targeted individually and separately, or collectively, for treatment.
An assessment may be formulated in the absence of a diagnosis, and is thereby a substitute for a diagnosis; but it can also complement a diagnosis. In some instances, although a diagnosis may be available, it may not be possible to cure or to rectify the condition responsible for a patient’s pain. In that event, formulating an assessment allows treatment to target the pain and its consequences instead of the actual cause.
Some practitioners might prefer to restrict the term – assessment, to apply to the act or process of obtaining information about a patient, and...