Four years since moving to a single comprehensive clinical assessment tool for older people, interRAI New Zealand Governance Board Chair Cathy Cooney is proud of what’s been achieved.

“We began a slow transition to a single comprehensive assessment tool four years ago. Health professionals had to learn new software and to do things differently,” Cathy Cooney told a visiting 16-member delegation of health professionals from Singapore.

TAS General Manager, interRAI Services Michele McCreadie with Mr Praveen Raj Kumar, Assistant Director (Engaement Strategy, REgulartory Compliance and Enforcment, Ministry of Health, Singapore (centre) and Dr Kenneth Ma (right), Deputy-Director Medical Services, Health Services Group, Ministry of Health, Singapore.

“The transition to using one national assessment for aged residential and home-base care was not easy for anyone,” she said.

“But here we are today with a robust and reliable tool that gives our health sector insight at local, regional and national levels into the care needs of older people. The benefit we are gaining in 2019 is significant.”

“With the interRAI assessment process now well embedded in New Zealand, I am proud of what has been achieved since the interRAI New Zealand Governance Board was established in 2015,” Cathy Cooney said.

Health officials from Singapore’s Ministry of Health, Agency for Integrated Care, Home Nursing Foundation, Woodlands Health Campus and social enterprise NTUC Health Co-operative spent five days in Auckland and Wellington investigating interRAI during March.

They heard from interRAI Fellow Dr Brigette Meehan of TAS, and General Manager, interRAI Services, Michele McCreadie, as well as Manager of the Health Ageing Team at the Ministry of Health, Karina Kwai.

Cathy Cooney said the critical feature for New Zealand was that one needs assessment system was used across all settings through the adoption of interRAI. 

That was thanks to the policy decision and leadership of the Ministry of Health and wider sector.  “That led to this single system for all of New Zealand,” she said.

“Having one integrated, standardised assessment tool enables New Zealand to facilitate coordinated long-term care planning across different healthcare settings, ranging from aged residential care, community or home based care, and palliative care.

“One assessment tool allows us to make more efficient use of resources and to achieve more effective and equitable outcomes for those being assessed.

Through interRAI we better understand our older population, its diverse ethnicities in New Zealand, the impact of social determinants of health, and outcomes for those who are cared for in different care settings.

An increasingly rich and growing body of quality data is providing greater insights into need and demand.

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