Implementation evaluation of a stepped approach to home care assessment using interRAI systems in Ontario, Canada

TitleImplementation evaluation of a stepped approach to home care assessment using interRAI systems in Ontario, Canada
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsSinn C-LJoanna, Hirdes JP, Poss JW, Boscart VM, Heckman GA
JournalHealth & Social Care in the Community
Date Published17 March 2022
ISBN Number0966-0410
Keywords*Home care, Adult, health care personnel, Human, Ontario, retrospective study

Abstract In Ontario, new home care clients are screened with the interRAI Contact Assessment and only those expected to require longer-term services receive the comprehensive RAI-Home Care assessment. Although Ontario adopted this two-step approach in 2010, it is unknown whether the assessment guidelines were implemented as intended. To evaluate implementation fidelity, the purpose of this study is to compare expected to actual client profiles and care co-ordinator practice patterns. We linked interRAI CA and RAI-HC assessments and home care referrals and services data for a retrospective cohort of adult home care clients admitted in FY 2016/17. All assessments were done by trained health professionals as part of routine practice. Descriptive analyses were used to evaluate congruency between recommended and actual practice. Adjusted cause-specific hazards and logistic approaches were used to examine time to RAI-HC assessment and being a high-priority client. Of 225,989 unique home care clients admitted to the publicly funded home care program, about three-quarters of clients were assessed with the interRAI CA only (27.9% completed the Preliminary Screener only and 46.6% completed both the Preliminary Screener and Clinical Evaluation). There was substantial agreement between the skip logic and completion of the Clinical Evaluation section (Cohen's kappa = 0.67 [95% CI: 0.66–0.67]). One-quarter of clients were assessed with both the interRAI CA and RAI-HC. As expected, RAI-HC assessed clients were older, reported more health needs, and often received home care services for >6 months. Clients in higher Assessment Urgency Algorithm (AUA) levels were significantly more likely to receive a RAI-HC assessment and be assigned to a higher home care priority level; however, 28.3% of clients in the highest AUA level did not receive a RAI-HC assessment. We conclude that the use of the interRAI CA and RAI-HC balances the investment of time and resources with the information and tools to deliver high-quality, holistic, and client-centred care. The interRAI CA guides the care co-ordinator to screen every client for a broad range of possible needs and tailor further assessment to each client's unique needs. We recommend integrating the AUA into provincial assessment guidelines as well as developing a new quality indicator focused on measuring access to the home care system. Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Health and Social Care in the Community published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.