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What is an assessment?

When people in the older persons’ health sector are talking about an assessment, they’re generally talking about the interRAI assessment, otherwise know as a needs assessment. (Other assessments include ACC, mental health, equipment and housing modification assessments.) The interRAI assessment is the standard assessment ‘tool’ (a computer-based programme) used across New Zealand to assess the needs of those who have a disability that is likely to last for at least six months. It’s main purposes are  to determine:

  • what your needs are, how they might best be met and how they might change over time;
  • whether you might be eligible for subsidised services.

There are several types of interRAI assessments and the one chosen for you will depend on your situation.

These assessments are completed by registered health professionals who are trained interRAI assessors and skilled in older people’s health. The assessment considers factors such as your physical wellbeing, health conditions, activities, your mood, medications and living and social circumstances. It focuses on what you can do, your abilities and how you function. It’s a living document which means it can and will be updated as and if things change for you. (Meaning too, that it helps keep everyone involved in your care 'on the same page'.) It will also be reviewed regularly.

At the end of the assessment a recommendation will be made e.g.:

  • for referral back to your GP and possible community support;
  • for specific care/support needs to be addressed;
  • for carer support;
  • for assistive equipment, etc.

What happens to the information?

The information from your assessment is stored securely, is confidential and available only those who need to be involved in your care. General information (excluding anything that could identify you) is also combined with all other interRAI assessments for the purpose of population health planning.

How to get an assessment

Most commonly you will be referred for an interRAI assessment by a health professional, however you can refer yourself. Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) or a Care Coordination Centre (CCC) services are free to eligible, permanent New Zealand residents and citizens.


Find out more about assessments here.

Updated: 20 Jul 2023
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