In this essay I will be discussing what a Community Needs Assessment is. I will detail and explain different types of need within a Community, the data required for a CNA and how it is obtained. Finally I will summarise the principles that underpin the steps involved in the process of undertaking a CNA, all using relative literature from a variety of sources.

A CNA is an extensive description of the needs of a group of people that distinguish themselves as a community. A CNA is designed to work as a guide for an action that takes both the identified need and the available resources into accoun. A CNA highlights the importance of community participation in health care planning and delivery.   Community involvement can have a positive effect on the community by sparking excitement and enthusiasm surrounding possible change or improvement. The purpose of a CNA is to be used in the developing of a plan to primarily increase the quality of life within a community.

Unfortunately there is no rulebook for carrying out a CNA and therefore the Community Nurse who is going to carry out such an assessment requires a certain level of expertise in community assessment to be a facilitator. The CNA also requires interpretation and evaluation and should always be conducted within the perimeters of Evidence Based Practice. A knowledge of the Community’s structure, population and social system is vital before individual needs can be met, as the population may present with health needs relative to their environment, ie. Respiratory issues within heavily polluted areas or skin cancers in areas with high temperatures and minimal education.

“If you say that someone or something needs something else, you mean they should have it, or would get an advantage from having it. Needs are also described as “something you need to stay alive” . In communities people take, give and swap items and services that they require or want and this helps to fulfill a large amount of people’s needs...