Irish Gerontological Society Hosts Major Multidisciplinary Symposium on interRAI

On 27th May the Irish Gerontological Society, in association with the Irish Health Services Executive Services for Older People and with the support of the National Clinical Programme for Older People, hosted a major meeting to explore the current international and national status and implementation of interRAI

In chosing interRAI as the Single Assessment Tool (SAT) for Older People, Ireland has joined a group of over 30 countries which use this sophisticated and evolving system to measure care needs and plan care for older people.  As well as  providing the basis for a shared language of care across care settings, interRAI provides a unique opportunity to study needs and response of older people in the Irish healthcare system, and facilitates international comparison and bench-marking.

The symposium was opened by co-founder and President of interRAI, Prof. Brant Fries.  Prof. Fries presented an introduction to the interRAI organisation and explored the key elements of the interRAI tools and domains.

Dr. John Morris, co-founder and Co-director of interRAI discussed interRAI functional measures within the perspective of ageing populations. “Comprehensive standardised assessments of elders is essential if the person is to receive the proper mix of formal and informal services” he concluded.

Dr. Katherine Berg is a member of the Steering Committee within the interRAI Acute Care Network and lead for the Post-acute Working Group whose progress she outlined for delegates.  Dr. Berg also called delegates’ attention to the interRAI event Global Forum on Acute Care ExcellenceEnsuring safe passage for frail and vulnerable adults across the hospital continuum. 20-21 February 2017.

The implementation of interRAI in Belgium was explored by Prof.  Anja Declercq.  Prof. Declercq is an interRAI board member and Associate InterRAI fellow.  Irish delegates were particularly interested in the use of interRAI instruments as a solution to the co-ordination and exchange of patient information in the complex Belgian context.

The use of interRAI assessments in Canda to improve quality at the systems and persons levels was presented by Prof. John Hindes, Chair of the interRAI network of Canada.  Some of the Key lessons from Canda outlined include:  that large scale implementation of the interRAI suite of instruments is feasible, they serve multiple functions for multiple audiences, and they enhance public accountability in public health care.

Finally, an overview of interRAI in Ireland was presented by Dr. Natalie Vereker, National Specialist, Services for Older People, Irish Health Service Executive.  Dr. Vereker explored how and why interRAI – known in Ireland as Single Assessment Tool (SAT) – was selected by a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary working group.  SAT will be the new national standard for the for the assessment of all older people seeking support under: Nursing Home Support Scheme, Home Care Package Scheme, Home Help Service.  Live implementation of SAT in Ireland commenced on 17th May 2016.

The Irish Gerontological Society would like to acknowledge and thank Prof. Des O'Neill for his input into the planning of this important event and for his participation in leading the stimulating panel discussion at the end of the programme.