“We have a huge amount of data available about the health and wellbeing of older people and it’s all available,” TAS General Manager of interRAI Services Michele McCreadie said at a conference in Auckland during 29-30 April 2019.

“It’s not just clinical data. It’s a complete picture of older people’s needs. It focuses on functional aspects of daily living, not just diseases.

“It’s information about activities of daily living, basic things and everyday functions such as ‘can I get to the toilet?’.”

The Health and Care Services for New Zealand’s Ageing Population Conference at Auckland’s Hilton convened a wide audience of people interested in older people’s health and residential aged care systems.

interRAI is a clinical assessment system used by health professionals across New Zealand to measure health and other aspects of an older person’s wellbeing, for example, loneliness, depression, cognition, mobility, support services, care and therapies.  interRAI in New Zealand is run by TAS and funded by the Ministry of Health which also commissions research into its data.

Michele McCreadie said studies using New Zealand’s interRAI data have been done investigating dementia, loneliness, social isolation, pharmaceutical use, hip fractures and home care and more are likely.

Some 746,000 people of the 4.9 million people who live in New Zealand are more than 65 years old.  That’s about 15% of the total population.

By 2043, 23% of New Zealanders will be 65 years or more, and about 785,000 people will be 75 years and older. “

“interRAI assessments are about helping health professionals, older people and their families make good, informed decisions about their care. In 2018 more than 80,000 older people were assessed using the interRAI, which stands for international Resident Assessment Instrument.”

“We have a growing understanding of the situations of elderly, frail and vulnerable people in New Zealand, with a world-class, rich and growing set of Big Data. We urge researchers and health professionals to use it.”

interRAI has a data visualisation tool to help researchers mine interRAI data about the health of older people. Go to: www.interRAI.co.nz/data

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