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Open Access Research article

Translation and adaption of the interRAI suite to local requirements in Belgian hospitals

Nathalie IH Wellens1, Johan Flamaing2, Philip Moons1, Mieke Deschodt12, Steven Boonen23 and Koen Milisen12*

Author affiliations

1 Center for Health Services and Nursing Research, Kapucijnenvoer 35 – PB 7001/4, B-3000, Leuven, Belgium

2 Leuven University Division of Geriatric Medicine, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

3 Leuven University Center for Metabolic Bone Diseases, Leuven, Belgium

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Citation and License

BMC Geriatrics 2012, 12:53  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-12-53

Published: 7 September 2012

Abstract

Background

The interRAI Suite contains comprehensive geriatric assessment tools designed for various healthcare settings. Although each instrument is developed for a particular population, together they form an integrated health evaluation system. The interRAI Acute Care Minimum Data Set (interRAI AC) is tailored for hospitalized older persons. Our aim in this study was to translate and adapt the interRAI AC to the Belgian hospital context, where it can be used together with the interRAI Home Care (HC) and the interRAI Long Term Care Facility (LTCF).

Methods

A systematic, comprehensive, and rigorous 10-step approach was used to adapt the interRAI AC to local requirements. After linguistic translation by an official translator, five researchers assessed the translation for appropriate hospital jargon. Three researchers double-checked for translation accuracy and proposed additional items. A provisional version was converted into the three official languages of Belgium—Flemish, French, and German. Next, a multidisciplinary panel of nine experts judged item relevance to the Belgian care context and advised which country-specific items should be added. After these suggestions were incorporated into the interRAI AC, hospital staff from nine Flemish hospitals field-tested the tool in their practice. After evaluating field-test results, we compared the interRAI AC with Belgian versions of the interRAI HC and interRAI LTCF. Next, the Flemish, French, and German versions of the Belgian interRAI portfolio were harmonized. Finally, we submitted the Belgian interRAI AC to the interRAI organization for ratification.

Results

Eighteen administrative items of the interRAI AC were adapted to the Belgian healthcare context (e.g., usual residence, formal community services prior to admission). Fourteen items assessing the ‘informal caregiver’, and 17 items, including country-specific items, were added (e.g., advanced directive for euthanasia).

Conclusions

The interRAI AC was adapted to local requirements using a meticulous and recursive 10-step approach. As use of the interRAI Suite continues to grow worldwide and as it continues to expand to other care settings and populations, this procedure can guide future translations. This procedure might also be used by others facing similar challenges of complex translation and adaptation situations, where multidimensional instruments are used across multiple care settings in multiple languages.

Keywords:
Aged; Geriatric assessment; Inpatient; interRAI Acute Care; Minimum Data Set; Validation studies; Instrument translation