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Questionnaires and tools

NPDS - Nursing Dependency Scale/NPCNA - Care Needs Assessment

The Northwick Park Nursing Dependency tool provides an assessment of patient care needs. It is an ordinal scale incorporating activities of daily living, safety awareness, behavioural management and communication.

The Northwick Park Care Needs Assessment is derived from the NPDS using a computerised algorithm based on a set of validated 'rules' or assumptions, together with a small additional set of 5 questions about the community setting. The computer outputs include an overall nursing dependency score, an estimation of care hours for each carer and a suggested care package required to meet the care needs. Graphs provide a visual representation of change in care needs, hours and cost.

Whilst the NPDS/NPCNA was developed for use in the rehabilitation setting in the UK, it has also been used in other nursing settings in the UK and abroad.

Further development of the tool has been completed (NPDS-Hospital) and an algorithm for the adapted tool is being developed.

The NPCNA is part of the NIHR dataset for Level 1 or Level 2 services. Completion of the tool is more time consuming than the RCS-E or Barthel Index, therefore it is more appropriate to record in parallel tranches in conjunction with the therapy assessment (NPTDA). Please contact the NIHR team for further information regarding parallel tranches.

The NPCNA is freely available for use without restriction. For copies of the instruments and computer programme please contact Heather Williams.

Complete Versions

The Northwick Park Nursing Dependency tool was originally designed to be completed by a nurse or other member of the care team who regularly provides care for the patient, usually in a hospital or nursing home setting.

However, for use in the community a self-complete version of the NPDS has been developed and validated in comparison with the original version.

The main version is: NPDS tool (PDF)

Nursing dependency self-complete training slides

  1. Northwick Park Dependency Assessment - Hospital (NPDS-H) Part 1
  2. Northwick Park Dependency Assessment - Hospital (NPDS-H) Part 2
  3. Northwick Park Care Needs Assessment (NPCNA) Part 3 


For information on the next training date please contact Elica Ming-Brown.


Published papers on NPDS and NPCNA



Using the NPDS to demonstrate cost-efficiency of rehabilitation

Translation to Barthel index

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