The Single Assessment Tool (SAT) is a comprehensive IT based health and social care needs assessment tool for frail older people, including people with dementia who are looking for access to the nursing home support scheme and home support in the form of home care packages or home help.
Its primary purpose is to match older people living with dementia with the services they need in a systematic, uniform way across all health service areas.
SAT is adapted from a world recognised system of medical assessment called InterRAI which can be used to assess the care needs of any group or any disease. In Ireland, it is being adapted initially to assess the care needs of older people and people with dementia.
It allows for the collection of the multi-disciplinary information that is needed to make a comprehensive and evidence based assessment of the needs for older people and people with dementia – both their health and social care needs.
SAT will provide guidance on evidence based care planning and will allow for better and more information sharing, thus reducing the potential for duplication of services. The HSE is also developing an assessment to measure the healthcare needs of carers, which will ultimately be incorporated into the InterRAI assessment suite.
On the Ground
The SAT was piloted in four acute hospital sites in Dublin, Galway and Cork and after positive findings is being rolled out to all health care areas. It will also support national policy on enabling people to remain at home for as long as possible. It has the potential to reduce admissions of people with dementia to hospital and postpone their entry into long-term care.
Training will be provided to approximately 2,000 health care staff through a clinical education and development programme.
The Impact on People
Joining the dots in holistic assessment
SAT joins the dots, so in practical terms it means that information can be gathered on areas like a person’s physical health issues, falls and frailty, home environment, cognitive health, mood and and difficult behaviour, in one uniform and effective assessment.
This cuts down on the need for multiple assessments which can be wearing for older people. It means that those looking at the assessment – from clinicians to care providers – can see the full picture and so can make decisions about the person in a holistic way. Critically, it cuts down on duplication of services for people, which means that there can be more efficient clinical and economic decision making.