Aged care sector showing interest in interRAI
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4 October 2012
 
Whanganui’s age care providers are showing growing interest in implementing the comprehensive, electronic interRAI Long-term Care Facilities Tool which Health Minister Tony Ryall wants to see used nationwide.
 
Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) health of older people senior portfolio manager Andrea Bunn says interRAI’s reliable, thorough and comprehensive clinical assessment of older adults’ medical, rehabilitation and support needs is proving very effective in identifying potential issues which once addressed, can significantly improve a person’s quality of life.
 
“Residents in rest homes respond well to individualised and specific plans of care,” Mrs Bunn says. “Staff can identify a resident’s strengths and build on them to help maintain their wellbeing. It might be that interRAI picks up that a person’s mobility will allow them to walk and sit in the sun to benefit from exposure to Vitamin D.
 
“It’s important that people with mobility are encouraged to keep moving and where possible, to walk outside.
 
“The other plus about interRAI is that information is stored electronically, enabling it to be easily read by staff tasked with treating a resident who may need to be hospitalised or seen by a clinician. By updating the information during treatment, staff are creating a long-term picture of a person’s condition for those who will treat and care for them in the future.
 
“Having a tool that’s used nationally and internationally not only raises the standard of assessment but it gives older adults and their families confidence that their needs really are being understood.
 
“By identifying opportunities to improve the health of older adults, rest homes can ensure their residents receive better continuity of care.”
 
In the meantime, Mrs Bunn says the WDHB’s efforts to introduce the interRAI Home Care Assessment Tool over the last two years has been very successful for all parties involved.
 
Like the Long-term Care Facility Tool, the Home Care Assessment Tool provides a comprehensive clinical assessment that’s proved very effective in identifying issues that can be addressed easily.
 
And having web-based information means if a person admitted to Emergency Department (ED) has had an interRAI assessment, ED staff don’t need to ask them questions they’ve probably had to answer many times before their admission.
 
Mrs Bunn says the Home Care Assessment Tool is mandatory for all DHBs but at this point, it’s optional for rest homes to implement the Long-term Care Facility Tool.
 
She says the WDHB will be encouraging rest homes to explore the benefits of the tool and then support those who decide to implement it.