The use of an internationally recognised assessment tool in the Waikato by those caring for older people in the community has got a boost with the appointment of Jenni Edge and Shirley Murdoch as lead practitioners.
They will provide education and support for new and current users of the interRAI system at Waikato DHB, which means training staff in the use of the assessment tool and how to ensure captured data is consistent, validated and accurate.
InterRAI is an electronic assessment tool used by trained health professionals in the management of older clients. It started as a Rest Home Assessment Instrument used in Canada and the US, but has now evolved into a suite of assessment tools used on any older person in any environment.
The Ministry of Health have driven the use of interRAI and now all DHBs are using it for the needs assessment of clients aged 65 and over. It is also now being rolled out in long term care facilities.
Waikato DHB’s Disability Support Link manager Graham Guy says the service has used interRAI since January 2012 and has now assessed more than 8100 clients using the tool. “The data it collects will start to give real evidence of the needs of our older population.”
Jenni and Shirley started their new roles in mid-September. They are both registered nurses and assessors/coordinators with Waikato DHB’s Disability Support Link (DSL), and will continue to do assessments as well as their joint lead practitioner role.
“It is an exciting time in the progression of interRAI. It has moved from being a project into a nationally used tool,” says Jenni.
“Our role is to support the delivery of quality workforce training and use of interRAI within both secondary and primary care sectors in the Waikato.”
The support and training includes both read-only use of interRAI, which ensures caregivers and health professionals can access current assessment information about an older person, and also how to enter assessments into the system.
“This really helps with continuity of care through a seamless assessment system across multiple health care settings,” says Shirley. “It promotes a person-centred evaluation rather than fragmented site-specific assessments.
“Our goal is to increase the use of interRAI by health professionals in acute areas like emergency departments, as well as in primary care and home based support. They will be encouraged to access the assessment information in interRAI, because that leads to better continuity of care for the older person,” she says.
“In addition, we can provide data from interRAI that will help health providers get insight into the assessed needs of the older population, and that helps with planning and improved practice.”
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