Past, Present and Future: An Examination of Quality of Life in New Zealand and the interRAI Quality of Life Survey
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Health Sciences
InterRAI is an internationally validated assessment tool used in many different contexts to assist different groups of people and patients to live fuller, safer and more productive lives. In 2008, the New Zealand Ministry of Health, after the completion a trial of the interRAI – Home Care assessment tool in the District Health Board, rolled out implementation of the interRAI – Home Care tool throughout New Zealand’s 21 District Health Boards. The Quality of Life survey itself is currently being assessed and trialled throughout the world as a follow-up to the Home Care assessment. It will enable researchers and assessors to enable for a comprehensive perspective by bringing together the views of both service providers and recipients of care service. The assessments will be completed by the person directly, as a self assessment, or through interview
The overall research aim of the study itself is to evaluate the adequacy of the interRAI Quality of Life survey in assessing the Quality of Life issues and needs of the elderly living in their own homes in the community with some sort of publicly funded health care, social or community support such as meals on wheels, personal care, etc., for the purpose of demonstrating the importance of it as a useful tool within New Zealand.
The objectives of the research are as follows:
• Objective 1 - To review the management and application of quality of life indicators for the elderly. • Objective 2 – To understand the pressures which an ageing population places on public policy. • Objective 3 - To consider how quality of life measures can best be applied alongside interRAI in New Zealand.
The research itself focused on the Quality of Life of thirty participants. Each participant was first assessed through an interRAI – HC assessment at their own home by an assessor from the Canterbury District Health Board. Upon completion of the assessment, they were given the option of being contacted by the researcher about participation in the interRAI Quality of Life Survey. Contact by the researcher by telephone ensued, which was then followed up by a face to face information session at the home of the participant. At this time, thirty out of thirty one potential participants decided to sign the informed consent form for participation. As the Quality of Life Survey itself is self reported, each participant was free to read through the survey and answer for themselves questions regarding their thoughts about their own quality of life.
Participants responded to forty six statements from nine different domains on the Quality of Life Survey. Overall results showed a majority of responses of ‘Always’, which were positive. Areas of concern which emerged from the data were of possible issues of social isolation and unresolved emotional health.
Limitations of the research included factors such as the small sample size of thirty, the geography of the study which was limited to Christchurch, and the fact that there was no follow up visit to the first and only interview.
In conclusion, it is apparent that a larger trial throughout the District Health Board is required to overcome the aforementioned limitations of sample size and geography. Also, it is imperative that a follow-up visit is scheduled after the initial visit to allow for intervention into quality of life issues which emerge from the participant’s self-assessment.