Nurses going through Competency Assessment Programmes (CAPs) may soon be able to become competent interRAI assessors as part of their course, saving time for aged residential care facilities.

Registered Nurses working in Aged Residential Care are usually responsible for assessing residents’ needs using the interRAI Long Term Care Facilities assessment. About 70% of Registered Nurses in aged residential care are competent interRAI assessors, which means they have gone through an eight-week training course, including three days in the classroom away from their usual responsibilities.

“We found that many Registered Nurses from the aged residential care sector were attending interRAI courses soon after finishing their CAPs programme where they gained their New Zealand nursing registration”, said Catherine Cooney (pictured), Chair of the interRAI New Zealand Governance Board.

“We realised that it made good sense to include interRAI assessment learning as part of the CAP process. From that idea came the decision to pilot an interRAI assessment course as part of Whitireia New Zealand’s CAPs programme.”

Aimed at CAPs students who already work in aged care

A number of CAPs students are nurses who already work in aged residential care as Health Care Assistants (HCAs). Once they have their registration, many are employed at the same facility as Registered Nurses and therefore need to be competent at undertaking interRAI assessments.

Being employed by a facility is essential for gaining interRAI competency, as interRAI training includes completing assessments with residents.

An adjunct to the Whitireia CAP course

Whitireia New Zealand allows an extra week after the students’ clinical placement to complete any outstanding work, which was the opportunity for interRAI. Three students were identified as currently working as health care assistants in a facility, and planning to return to the same facility after completing the CAPs programme.

In July 2017, interRAI educator Sally Aydon (pictured) taught the classroom part of interRAI training as an adjunct to the Whitireia CAP course. Once the students returned to their facilities, they completed the necessary assessments and evaluations to gain interRAI competency with Sally’s support. By mid-August, all three pilot participants were competent interRAI assessors able to complete assessments at their facilities.

A bonus for facilities

“These students didn’t need to take time away from work for interRAI training. That’s a real bonus for facilities who are often stretched for resources”, said Cathy. “Time away for training has been difficult for some facilities to manage and this pilot is in response to that feedback. Another important step towards making interRAI sustainable in the long term.”

Cathy is very positive about the pilot: “As a result of the success of the pilot the interRAI NZ Governance Board are keen to introduce interRAI to other CAPs providers, so that more nurses can add this important competency to their skillset before they return to work as Registered Nurses.” The interRAI Services team would like to talk to CAPs providers who are interested in adding interRAI assessment to their courses. The next course at Whitireia is planned for December 2017.

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