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Open Access Research article

Data sharing between home care professionals: a feasibility study using the RAI Home Care instrument

Dawn M Guthrie1*, Robyn Pitman2, Paula C Fletcher1, John P Hirdes3, Paul Stolee3, Jeffrey W Poss3, Alexandra Papaioannou4, Katherine Berg5 and Helen Janzen Ezekiel6

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, 75 University Ave. W, Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5, Canada

2 Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd. E, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada

3 Ontario Home Care Research and Knowledge Exchange Chair, School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. W, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada

4 Department of Medicine, Director, Division of Geriatric Medicine, McMaster University, Chedoke Hospital, Wilcox Building, Sanatorium Road, Hamilton, ON L9C 1C4, Canada

5 Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto, 160-500 University Ave., 8th Floor, Toronto, ON M5G 1V7, Canada

6 Waterloo Wellington Community Care Access Centre, 450 Speedvale Avenue West, Suite 201, Guelph, ON N1H 7G7, Canada

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BMC Geriatrics 2014, 14:81  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-14-81

Published: 30 June 2014

Abstract

Background

Across Ontario, home care professionals collect standardized information on each client using the Resident Assessment for Home Care (RAI-HC). However, this information is not consistently shared with those professionals who provide services in the client’s home. In this pilot study, we examined the feasibility of sharing data, from the RAI-HC, between care coordinators and service providers.

Methods

All participants were involved in a one-day training session on the RAI-HC. The care coordinators shared specific outputs from the RAI-HC, including the embedded health index scales, with their contracted physiotherapy and occupational therapy service providers. Two focus groups were held, one with care coordinators (n = 4) and one with contracted service providers (n = 6). They were asked for their opinions on the positive aspects of the project and areas for improvement.

Results

The focus groups revealed a number of positive outcomes related to the project including the use of a falls prevention brochure and an increased level of communication between professionals. The participants also cited multiple areas for improvement related to data sharing (e.g., time constraints, data being sent in a timely fashion) and to their standard practices in the community (e.g., busy workloads, difficulties in data sharing, duplication of assessments between professionals).

Conclusions

Home care professionals were able to share select pieces of information generated from the RAI-HC system and this project enhanced the level of communication between the two groups of professionals. However, a single information session was not adequate training for the rehabilitation professionals, who do not use the RAI-HC as part of normal practice. Better education, ongoing support and timely access to the RAI-HC data are some ways to improve the usefulness of this information for busy home care providers.

Keywords:
Home care; Rehabilitation; InterRAI; Standardized assessment; Information sharing