The final report in response to the independent review of the implementation of the interRAI comprehensive clinical assessment into aged residential care has been published 

The review, by independent consulting company Evaluation Consult, was published in 2016 and made 10 recommendations on a wide array of issues from communications to training and efficiency.  

interRAI New Zealand took the recommendations very seriously and reported regularly to the interRAI New Zealand Governance Board on progress, said Cathy Cooney, Chair of the interRAI NZ Governance Board. 

What we have achieved in response to the 10 recommendations is only part of our effort to make interRAI and our service as user friendly and sustainable as possible. We have listened to our aged residential care interRAI users and worked over the last two years to improve their experience and enable providers to realise the value of interRAI. 

As a result the board has seen a shift in attitude towards interRAI from the sector.  

InterRAI was introduced as the primary assessment system in aged residential care between 2011 and 2015. It became mandatory for all facilities in July 2015. An international group of experts develop the assessments, which are used in over 3countries. Assessors in New Zealand complete interRAI assessments on a national software system. interRAI is also used by District Health Boards to assess clients’ home care needs.  

In its early years, interRAI presented some challenges for the sector, however the board now believes that most users can now appreciate its versatility and how the assessments enhance the quality of service provision. This has been helped by taking on board the recommendations of the review and making effective changes. 

Some of the most visible changes we made include communicating better with facility managers and assessors, through a regular email newsletter Inside interRAI with operational updates, and offering best practice guidance on our website. Many aged residential care facility managers and lead nurses will have also been to one of our Integrating interRAI workshops,from which we have had positive feedback. 

Feedback from trainees is also the backbone of ongoing improvement to the training model. A drive for efficiency is showing some pleasing results for the board. 

For example, over the last two years we reduced the time it takes to become a competent assessor by 32-44% across the different assessment instruments,” says Cathy. 

 Our drive for improvement won’t slow down now we have responded to the ten recommendations. We will continue to develop our services and education programme. A key next step is the introduction of online learning as an alternative to our face-to-face end user training to more efficiently respond to the growing demand from health professionals who use assessment summaries as part of their daily work. 

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