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Integrating interRAI Into Your Care Facility

If you're in the aged-care sector in New Zealand, you've heard of interRAI. InterRAI, or International Resident Assessment Instrument, is an assessment tool that focuses on a person's function, their health risks and opportunities for improvement. An assessor will talk with the person, their family, whānau and carers, observe them and collect clinical information. The information collected is then coded into software that creates a picture of the person's needs and opportunities and creates a tailored care plan.

In New Zealand, interRAI is used for assessing everyone in aged residential care and those who access home and community services for older people living in the community. Data is used for an individual's care and is also anonymised and collated to provide nation-level information to researchers, healthcare professionals and policymakers.

InterRAI's implementation in residential care homes is part of current standards. Implementation may seem as easy as getting access, training staff and then entering the data; however, interRAI works best in homes that integrate the program fully, so carers and administrators can use the data generated to improve the care their facility provides to residents.


The software is designed to provide efficient ways to assess people's healthcare needs and generate personalised care plans. Although the automation doesn't completely get rid of the need for human input into care plans, the software can offer options staff may not have thought of or may notice problems at an earlier stage.

InterRAI New Zealand recommends inputting data while at the resident's bedside so that assessments and new information are regularly added to the database. From there, interRAI can trigger Clinical Assessment Protocols (CAPs), which show when a resident has a higher-than-expected rate of decline, symptoms that can be alleviated if a problem was addressed or an increased potential to improve.

Checking resident CAPs regularly will allow your facility to ensure each resident is receiving the best care possible and help pick up problems early.

Daily Operations

Running an aged-care facility can be difficult, with many tasks to track. This is where interRAI's reporting system can shine. Reports are available that help carers and nursing staff keep on top of all the jobs that need to be done on a daily basis.

As an example, the wound management report can be run at a facility, unit, care provider or resident level and provides information about the date the wound was identified, the type, stage and description of the wound and the date resolved. Other reports include bed occupancy, CAP trends and outcomes and current care plans.

Resident listing reports can provide carers with data that enhances the quality of life for residents. For example, a report on the religion of residents can help your facility provide spiritual services to residents, and a birthday report reminds carers to make the day special for residents.

Big Picture

The last level of interRAI is analytics. This high-level reporting allows managers to see trends within the whole facility. If you own or manage multiple facilities, you can see trends across all of them.

This sort of high-level data can help you see where improvements are needed or where a facility is doing well in a way that could be duplicated at other facilities. The data collation in interRAI is quite powerful. For example, you can see how the weight of residents corresponds with pressure ulcer risk and make adjustments if you see a correlation. If you see a jump in residents with pressure ulcers, you can investigate the procedures in the facility and improve them or make sure they're being adhered to.

InterRAI can seem like a time-consuming imposition if it's only being used to comply with NZ standards, but facilities that embrace the technology can make improvements in the care they provide to residents and the way their facility is run. If the instrument is integrated fully, it will actually save time and ensure that nothing is overlooked when it comes to improving the life and health of residents.