The RAI-PC: An assessment instrument for palliative care in all settings

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Abstract

Large numbers of persons in most types of healthcare settings have palliative care needs that have considerable impact on their quality of life. Therefore, InterRAI, a multinational consortium of researchers, clinicians, and regulators that uses assessment systems to improve the care of elderly and disabled persons, designed a standardized assessment tool, the Resident Assessment Instrument for Palliative Care (RAI-PC). The RAI-PC can be used for both the design ofindividual care plans and for case mix and outcomes research. Some elements of this instrument are taken from the resident assessment instrument (RAI) mandated for use in all nursing homes in the United States and widely used throughout the world. The RAI-PC can be used alone or in conjunction with the other assessment tools designed by the InterRAI collaboration: the RAI for homecare (RAI-HC), for acute care (RAI-AC), and for mental health care (RAI-MH).

The objective of this study was to field test and carry out reliability studies on the RAI-PC. After appropriate approvals were obtained, the RAI-PC instrument was field tested on 151 persons in three countries in more than five types of settings. Data obtained from 144 of these individuals were analyzed for reliability. The reliability of the instrument was very good, with about 50 percent of the questions having kappa values of 0.8 or higher, and the average kappa value for each of the eight domains ranging from 0.76 to 0.95. The 54 men and 95 women had a mean age of 79 years. Thirty-four percent of individuals suffered pain daily. Eighty percent tired easily; 52 percent were breathless on exertion; and 19 to 53 percent had one or more other symptoms, including change in sleep pattern, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, anorexia, breath-lessness at rest, constipation, and diarrhea. The number of symptoms an individual reported increased as the estimated time until death declined. The “clinician friendly” RAI-PC can be used in multiple sites of care to facilitate both care planning and case mix and outcomes research.

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