Education & Support » Palliative Care Assessment

Palliative Care Assessment

The Palliative Care assessment offers an alternative for Home Care assessors to be used with clients living in the community and with a terminal condition or prognosis. The assessment focuses on items like, for example, managing pain and fatigue, and preparing for the need for increased support. Palliative Care assessments are also shorter than Home Care assessments.

Interpreting Palliative Care assessments

interRAI assessors working in aged residential care see the occasional Palliative Care assessment from their local NASC office or hospice. Some CAPs and Outcome Scores are different, as summarised in our factsheet. 

Education for Home Care Assessors

Training is delivered in small groups and takes about two hours plus one supervised assessment and one on-line evaluation. Competent home care assessors can request training through the Request Training page and, depending on numbers, we’ll get a course organised.

Questions and answers

Will the interRAI Palliative Care assessment be accepted for a person’s entry into aged residential care instead of the interRAI Home Care assessment?

A: Yes, this assessment has been accepted by the DHB Health of Older People group to be an acceptable alternative to the Home Care assessment for determining if community supports are no longer appropriate for the assessed adult.

What is different about the Palliative Care assessment compared to the Home Care assessment?

A: The interRAI Palliative Care assessment has many similar assessment items to the interRAI Home Care assessment. There are some palliative specific questions regarding Psychosocial Well-being. Additional training is provided to address this items. It is a prerequisite to complete Advance Care Planning training.

The outcomes and CAPs have a more clinical, symptom relief aspect than the HC assessment, which is a better focus for this cohort.

How long does the assessment take to complete compared to the Home Care assessment?

A: The Palliative Care assessment has significantly fewer questions to code then the Home Care assessment. Once an assessor is competent and familiar with the assessment, it is typically completed in 45 minutes with the assessed person and their supporting whānau.

Does the Palliative Care assessment have all the same outcome measures and CAPs as the Home Care assessment?

A: No. The Palliative Care assessment has just eight outcome scales. It does not calculate the MAPLe or any of the IADL scales. It has seven Palliative Care specific CAPs, with its own CAPs manual and assessment coding manual.

Palliative care funding in this DHB does not require any interRAI assessment, can we still use the Palliative Care assessment?

A: Yes, this is a clinical decision about selecting the best assessment tool for the person being assessed. If the person has a palliative diagnosis (any aetiology) the Palliative Care assessment is likely to be the most appropriate for this person.

What is the training commitment for my staff?

A: all Home care competent assessors are required to have completed the Advance Care Planning module (or DHB equivalent) before they attend Palliative Care assessment training. The classroom training is 3 hours in duration. Then the assessor is required to complete a short exam set (Palliative Care specific), at least one reviewed Palliative Care assessment and a final competency conversation with their educator. The complete training package is completed over a maximum of four weeks.

Who can be trained in Palliative Care assessment?

A:  Any Home Care competent assessor. It is however recommended that managers give careful consideration when selecting assessors to complete palliative care training because some assessors report difficulty adjusting their assessment focus to address palliative specific questions and issues with clients and whānau. 

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