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18th of May 2020

New digital instrument opens for large-scale identification of vulnerable persons during the COVID-19 pandemic

The international research organization interRAI, has rapidly developed a scientific assessment instrument to identify particularly vulnerable social groups during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In collaboration with the Finnish IT company Raisoft Ltd, the instrument has been digitized in order to quickly carry out the assessments. The COVID-19 Vulnerability Screener is a self-report instrument with standardized survey questions that can be administered by a lay person (e.g., student, volunteer, health care aide, administrative staff). "This frees up valuable time for clinicians to focus on addressing the needs of complex patients during the pandemic" says Professor John Hirdes of the University of Waterloo, Canada, who is leading the international research team.

The interRAI COVID-19 Vulnerability Screener provides a brief evaluation of frailty and multi-morbidity that can increase the risk of serious, adverse outcomes for older persons exposed to COVID-19. The screener can be administered over the phone or in-person. Using the digital instrument, users will be able to quickly and conveniently identify people who have potential care needs related to COVID-19 symptoms. These symptoms are significant factors that are worrying individuals, and in combination can pose a significant threat to people at risk. The screener has been developed through more than 3 million completed interRAI assessments from nursing homes and clinics in Canada and the United States.

Raisoft and interRAI have engaged collaborators in Canada, South Africa and Europe to begin using the instrument in primary care, geriatric services, and community programs with health workers to reach out to vulnerable persons living in community settings. The screener will help to monitor and manage moderate risks related to underlying medical issues, functional problems, distress mood, or social isolation. The feedback has been very positive, the users find the screener useful and the software solution easy to use.

One project worker in Canada commented, "I have been using the COVID-19 Sceener and the Check-Up instrument to complete a comprehensive geriatric assessment on community dwelling older adults via a virtual clinic. It captures the essential aspects of a comprehensive assessment, allowing for the addition of notes which I use for more narrative aspects of the assessment and it has a longer section at the bottom where I can place my conclusions. Overall, I have found it very useful and will likely use it in my practice going forward."

Another user from Canada commented, "I find the software very user friendly and it's so exciting to be able to look at my data immediately. I have found it very easy to navigate through and the questions are very clear."

The instrument will continue to be offered to national health care providers and those responsible for public health. A trained user can administer the assessment in 5-10 minutes.

Read more about the screener and it's development in this article by the University of Waterloo.

About interRAI:

interRAI is a collaborative network of researchers and practitioners in over 35 countries committed to improving care for persons who are disabled or medically complex. Our consortium strives to promote evidence-informed clinical practice and policy decision making through the collection and interpretation of high- quality data about the characteristics and outcomes of persons served across a variety of health and social services settings.

About Raisoft:

Raisoft has 20 years of experience in healthcare. Raisoft has built around solid assessment expertise. We create software for measuring an individual´s functional performance, as well as quality and effectiveness of care. Our software is used in multiple care settings, for example home and long-term care for elderly, mental health care for all ages, assistance for the physically impaired, and preventive care. It provides real-time information for decision-making at all levels of care.

Additional Information:

Ph.D. Magnus Björkgren, [email protected], +358 40 747 6418
Managing Director Robert Åström, [email protected], +358 44 588 0375