Australia & New Zealand Newsletter  
Issue 1  -   May 2009





Research projects

Recent publications

New vendors









'Talking the same language
for effective care for
older people'








interRAI Australia

Coordinating Centre
Telephone: +61(7)-32406420
Facsimile: +61(7)-32405399
Email: interRAI mail


InterRAI New Zealand

Coordinating Centre














From the editor

interRAI Australia and New Zealand have joined forces to prepare this newsletter. Our close proximity and similar health care settings provide an excellent opportunity to share information and resources in promoting interRAI activities in each country.

The newsletter will be circulated quarterly to people who have signed up to our mailing lists. We will report important developments and events. The content is being assembled by interRAI Fellows Brigette Larkins, Nigel Millar and myself, supported by Nadine Krueger in our Brisbane office. If you have news you would like to share, please contact Nadine Krueger.

An important forthcoming event is the next interRAI CONFERENCE, to be conducted in Brisbane on May 3 and 4, 2010.  There will be a large contingent of international speakers from interRAI nations around the world.  Further details will be circulated in the next few months.  I hope to see you there.

Len Gray


>> Major interRAI conference planned for 2010 in Brisbane, Australia

>> Home Care Plans for NZ – The National Implementation Project

interRAI Acute Care use expands in Queensland

New Zealand interRAI Methodology User Group

>> Reliability of an "Online" Geriatric Assessment Procedure, Australia

>> Australian study to develop Quality Indicators for interRAI Acute Care

>> The joint ACC and DHB project, New Zealand

Funding success – interRAI and Dietetics



Major interRAI conference planned for 2010 in Brisbane, Australia
interRAI Australia will host a major regional interRAI conference in Brisbane on May 3rd and 4th, 2010. Although only in its early planning stages, the meeting will feature numerous international speakers from Europe and North America. There will be a regional focus, with the program configured to reflect developments and research in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong. The meeting is scheduled immediately prior to the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian & New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine, to be held in Coolum, just outside of Brisbane, on May 5 -7.
Mark this in your diaries!

Home Care Plans for NZ – The National Implementation Project
The interRAI National Implementation Project is nearing the end of the first stage of development. The project led by the Ministry of Health is a phased 4 year implementation of the interRAI Minimum Data Set Home Care 2.0 (MDS-HC) and Contact Assessment (CA) to improve assessment processes for older people in New Zealand.
Upon completion, the twenty one District Health Boards (DHBs) will use the assessments primarily for people over 65 years who require needs assessment for access to long term publicly funded services in the home or for residential care. DHBs may use the Contact and/or Home Care assessments within their individual service delivery model to assess client’s needs. This includes use of interRAI methodology such as CAPs and outcome scales to inform the clients care plan. In this way different DHBs have flexibility to meet their service delivery needs in individual ways yet have the benefit of standardised assessment results to equitably support clients in their district. The Information Communication Technology aspect of the plan also attends to future capability to collect and use aggregated data to inform local and national planning.
The implementation plan includes a funding model that supports collaboration among DHBs and focuses on operational as well as capital requirements. The plan also provides National Criteria regarding: use of interRAI in New Zealand, Training and Workforce, Maori Access, Information Communication Technology and Post-implementation management.
To date six DHBs are using interRAI at the minimum requirement for support needs assessment. It is likely that DHBs will also use the assessments for wider purposes.

For comment or questions about the interRAI project please contact the Project Manager on +64 3 372 3042 or 027 212 7308, or by emailing

interRAI Acute Care use expands in Queensland
The interRAI AC is now in regular use in 6 hospitals in Queensland Australia.  It is primarily used to support geriatric consultation but in some settings it also supports geriatric and rehabilitation ward based care.  A novel use is the ability to conduct geriatric assessment “online” whereby geriatricians are able to view and report assessments via the internet which have been prepared by nurse assessors. This system is planned for rollout to up to 30 hospitals in the next 12 months. 
More details can be found in this publication: Gray L, Wootton R (2008).  Comprehensive geriatric assessment “online”.  Australasian Journal on Ageing 27(4):205-208.

New Zealand interRAI Methodology User Group - from small beginnings to increasing capability for collegial support
Following several years of activity, New Zealand adopted the use of interRAI Home Care and Contact assessment tools with the announcement in July 2008 of Ministry of Health funding to support a nation wide implementation over the next three to four years. Prior to this, five District Health Boards (DHBs) were involved in a two year pilot investigating the use of the home care assessment tool. To support the assessors involved in that pilot, an informal ‘user group’ was established to help assessors share experiences and provide collegial support for each other. The assessors met via a teleconference and continued to meet to discuss interRAI well after the actual pilot had officially finished.

That ‘user group’ has now been firmly established as the New Zealand interRAI Methodology User Group and now comes under the auspices of Dr Nigel Millar the New Zealand interRAI fellow who appoints a new chair on a regular basis.
Nigel Millar says, “the group is an open forum for anyone with an interest in interRAI in New Zealand. I am very pleased with the collegial support and effort that people are investing in interRAI and this forum is a good example of that. I would recommend that anyone with an interest become part of the group, and that includes anyone from Australia too!”.

The terms of reference and contact details for the forum are available from

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Research projects

Reliability of an "Online" Geriatric Assessment Procedure (Australia)
The Academic Unit in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Queensland has been awarded a National Health and Medical Research Grant to conduct a study to examine the reliability of an "Online" Geriatric Assessment Procedure.  The online assessment is built around the interRAI AC, and can be used to support geriatric consultation or ward based care in city and rural settings.
This program will examine the reliability, safety and cost of providing "Online" Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment to older people in hospital, compared to live assessments. Three sites and 10 geriatricians across Australia will be involved. For further information contact
Len Gray.   

Australian study to develop Quality Indicators for interRAI Acute Care
The Academic Unit in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Queensland, Australia recently was awarded a significant research grant to develop a suite of Quality Indicators for care of the frail elderly in acute care.  The QIs will be derived from the interRAI Acute Care MDS. The study will involve at least 10 hospitals across 2 states. The ACOVE-3 process indicators will also be collected as part of the project. The project involves interRAI members Len Gray and John Morris, who will be assisted by Rich Jones from HSL, Boston. International members wishing to be involved in this work can contact Melinda Martin-Khan.

The joint Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), New Zealand District Health Board (DHB) interRAI pilot project
ACC provides comprehensive, no-fault personal injury for all New Zealand residents and visitors to New Zealand. ACC works closely with businesses and the community to make New Zealand a safer place and ensure all New Zealanders have equal access to the ACC Scheme.
ACC and local DHBs are trialling the joint use of the interRAI assessment tool, which looks at all a client’s home-based care needs in one go. This single assessment will review a client’s combined injury and non-injury needs to help establish the home-based services needed to meet them. This will ideally result in delivering coordinated services though one organisation, either ACC or the client’s local DHB.
The services provided share a common goal of assisting a person who is aging or has a disability and/or injury arising from an accident to remain part of their community.
ACC wishes to discover if:
     • only one assessment can be used to identify all the support services required by a client,
     • there is greater clarity of funding responsibility for agencies jointly providing home based support
     • there is a reduction in overall cost to ACC

ACC is currently working with the Capital & Coast DHB in Wellington and the Nelson & Marlborough DHB in Nelson. Once full approval to begin the pilot occurs then clients who meet the criteria for inclusion in the pilot will be asked to participate. It is estimated that 400 clients will participate in the pilot.

Funding success – interRAI and Dietetics
Researchers from Operational Support Services (Nutrition and Dietetics) and the Academic Unit in Geriatric Medicine (AUGM) at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane (Australia) have recently obtained a $10,000 Health Practitioner Research Grant from Queensland Health to complete collaborative research using the interRAI-Acute Care (AC) assessment instrument. It will augment the significant research program at AUGM examining the process and quality of care of the frail aged in the acute care setting.

The project is investigating new approaches to dietetic assessment as part of a comprehensive geriatric assessment. It is practice-based, as the interRAI-AC is used in acute care and rehabilitation as standard practice at several Queensland Health facilities for comprehensive geriatric assessment. The validity of interRAI-AC questions for nutritional status will be tested against standard dietetics tools. Once this is achieved, it could be used, in practice, to: (i) streamline nutrition screening and assessment processes currently conducted by Nutrition Assistants and Dieticians, (ii) improve the early identification and treatment of malnutrition in older adult inpatients on admission to acute and rehabilitation settings and (iii) reduce the prevalence of this chronic and preventable disease. Effective and timely recognition of malnutrition risk and malnutrition status is essential to reduce its detrimental effects on patient mortality and morbidity, and hospital costs due to longer recovery times and extended hospital stays.
For further information contact Olivia Wright.

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New vendors

Australia: Coordimax – Licensed the iHC and iPAC

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Recent publications

Berg, K., H. Finne-Soveri, et al. (2009). "Relationship between interRAI HC and the ICF: opportunity for operationalizing the ICF." BMC Health Services Research 9(1): 47.

Gray, L. C., K. Berg, et al. (2009). "Sharing clinical information across care settings: the birth of an integrated assessment system." BMC Health Serv Res 9(1): 71.

Gray, L. and R. Wootton (2008).
"Comprehensive geriatric assessment “online”." Australasian Journal on Ageing 27(4): 205-208.

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