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Recognise and respond to changes in physical and mental health


This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2023 as per our Quality Assurance policy.

The more you work with individuals, the more you will get to know them and become familiar with their personalities, behaviours, attitudes and physical capabilities.


This puts you in a prime position to recognise any changes that may indicate an improvement or deterioration of their physical or mental health.

Some things that may indicate a change in an individual’s physical or mental health include:

  • Being unable or unwilling to get out of bed
  • Drastic changes in behaviour
  • Being overly forgetful or regularly confused
  • Under-eating or over-eating
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Signs of being in pain (e.g. crying, screaming, gritted teeth etc.)
  • Being unable to complete a physical task they usually perform with ease
  • Becoming out of breath more rapidly
  • Decreased mobility
  • Changes in mood or personality

When you have identified a change in an individual’s physical or mental health, you should attempt to gather more information, for example by observing or speaking to the individual. You may also ask your colleagues to observe or speak to the individual and ask them what they think.


Next, you should report your concerns to your manager or supervisor who will be able to work with you to develop a plan of action. You should also make a written record of your observations and concerns.

This may mean making more observations or making a referral to a medical professional such as the individual’s GP, nurse or psychologist.


You may also need to contact the individual’s family to pass on your concerns.

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