InterRAI data report on the health of older people living at home

The South Island Alliance has released a report summarising data about the health of older people in the South Island who are living at home.

The data has been captured using tools developed by the interRAI network, including a home care tool and a contact assessment tool, to provide a snapshot of the health of older people living at home in the region.

Published by the South Island Alliance’s Health of Older People’s Group (HOPSLA), the report includes scales summarising elements such as cognition and physical function scores, as well as priority level and frailty.

These are captured through the Method of Assigning Priority Level (MAPLe) assessment and the Changes in Health, End-Stage Disease and Signs and Symptoms of medical problems (CHESS) assessment, which was originally developed by interRAI for nursing home residents.

New Zealand has mandated that all aged care facility residents will be assessed using a comprehensive clinical assessment tool developed by interRAI by July this year.

For home care clients, ensuring a comprehensive clinical assessment occurs for an older person is an important step in healthcare delivery, according to HOPSLA facilitator Jane Large.

“The needs of older people are often multiple and complex, and at times can be both,” Ms Large said in a statement. “Older people often have more complicated multi-system problems than other adults and as such are at increased risk for morbidity and mortality.”

HOPSLA hopes to support health staff and managers to plan for improvements in treatment and management of older people's’ healthcare using the new report.

“The interRAI assessment system records each assessment, so that data is available that can support health staff and researchers to develop and deliver comprehensive and effective treatment plans,” Ms Large said. “So it helps us to be more effective, and have better outcomes for patients and for the wider health system.”

The clinical director of community services for older person health for the Canterbury and West Coast DHBs, Valerie Fletcher, said the roll out of interRAI across the South Island was changing the way health staff work.

“Staff are being asked to record all assessments electronically now, rather than using a paper-based system, which is meaning a rethink in the way staff access and use technology,” Dr Fletcher said.

Plans are underway to expand the reporting as more data becomes available, to make it useful for primary care and aged residential care. Other reports are also being developed to look at the factors associated with good and poor outcomes.

The report (PDF) is available from the SI Alliance website.

Posted in New Zealand eHealth

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