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Open Access Technical advance

The Method for Assigning Priority Levels (MAPLe): A new decision-support system for allocating home care resources

John P Hirdes12*, Jeff W Poss1 and Nancy Curtin-Telegdi1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, University of Waterloo, University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1, Canada

2 Homewood Research Institute, Delhi Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1E 6K9, Canada

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BMC Medicine 2008, 6:9  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-6-9

Published: 26 March 2008

Abstract

Background

Home care plays a vital role in many health care systems, but there is evidence that appropriate targeting strategies must be used to allocate limited home care resources effectively. The aim of the present study was to develop and validate a methodology for prioritizing access to community and facility-based services for home care clients.

Methods

Canadian and international data based on the Resident Assessment Instrument – Home Care (RAI-HC) were analyzed to identify predictors for nursing home placement, caregiver distress and for being rated as requiring alternative placement to improve outlook.

Results

The Method for Assigning Priority Levels (MAPLe) algorithm was a strong predictor of all three outcomes in the derivation sample. The algorithm was validated with additional data from five other countries, three other provinces, and an Ontario sample obtained after the use of the RAI-HC was mandated.

Conclusion

The MAPLe algorithm provides a psychometrically sound decision-support tool that may be used to inform choices related to allocation of home care resources and prioritization of clients needing community or facility-based services.