interRAI proving itself in the South Island

10 February 2015

A new interRAI report marks a milestone in how the assessment system is working for the South Island.

The report, recently published by the South Island Alliance’s Health of Older People’s Group (HOPSLA), summarises interRAI home care data captured from DHBs via the Home Care Tool and Contact Assessment Tool from 1 July to 30 September 2014.

The report provides a snapshot of the health of older people residing in their homes across the South Island. It encompasses a range of health domains including cognition and physical function, priority level and frailty. These are captured through the Method of Assigning Priority Level (or MAPLe) assessment, and the CHESS assessment, which measures changes in health, end-stage disease, signs and symptoms.

Dr Valerie Fletcher, Clinical Director of Community Services Older Person Health, Canterbury and West Coast DHB says the report marks a new milestone for interRAI in the South Island.

“Whilst quarterly South Island wide data has been developed for the last three quarters, this is the first time we have managed to shape the data to where it is providing consistent, reliable and useful information that we can share with the South Island health sector.”

Facilitator for HOPSLA Jane Large says the new report is hoped to support health staff to plan for improvements in treatment and management of older persons’ healthcare.

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, including ones that look at the factors associated with good and poor outcomes for people.

Dr Fletcher says the roll out of interRAI across the South Island is 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 re-think in the way staff access and use technology.”

Like in many parts of the country, interRAI has taken a little while to gain broad acceptance. However, as HOPSLA interRAI working group member Jason Elley says, it is now ‘the norm’ for healthcare staff.

“While there has been some apprehension historically from healthcare staff regarding completing the interRAI assessments, we have found that the more we have improved the functionality and performance of the system over time, the more staff have engaged with it.”

Meanwhile, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman announced yesterday that a new hospital patient information system – the South Island Patient Information Care System (SI PICS) ─ is to be rolled out across South Island DHBs to streamline services, replacing seven existing patient administration systems.

Elley says while possibilities for integrating interRAI and SI PICS may be explored in the future, nothing is planned at this stage.

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