TORONTO, June 13, 2013 /CNW/ - A new partnership between Canadian Red
Cross and interRAI will bring together interRAI's expertise in health
assessments and the experience of Canadian Red Cross in disaster
response and community health services to ensure the most vulnerable
Canadians receive the right help quickly in times of emergency.
The interRAI suite of assessment tools have been recognized
internationally and adopted as the standard approach to evaluating the
health needs of vulnerable persons in community-based and
facility-based settings in eight Canadian provinces/territories.
A partnership between the two organizations will begin to look at health
assessment data and determine at a local planning level, who are the
most vulnerable in our communities, how best they can be identified in
times of emergency and how first responders can quickly receive that
information to assist these individuals. InterRAI data have already
been utilized to respond during the earthquake in Christchurch, New
Zealand in 2011; however, Canada is the first country to begin work on
formalizing tools for a coordinated response with health assessment
"Understanding who in our communities are most vulnerable and what their
health needs are is critical to providing fast and effective assistance
in times of disaster," says Lori Holloway, national director for health
programs with the Canadian Red Cross. "The partnership with interRAI
will enable us to ensure these valuable tools are used to the fullest
extent in times of community emergency."
"This partnership will marry the wealth of expertise of the Red Cross
and interRAI Canada team and the power of interRAI data to build
innovative solutions which improve community health care," says Dr.
John Hirdes, Professor, School of Public Health and Health Systems,
University of Waterloo. "Our collaboration will build a bridge from the
assessment of health needs to the provision of assistance in times of
In Christchurch, New Zealand, the home care records based on interRAI
assessments were used to target those who were at immediate risk due to
isolation or limited caregiver support, as well as those who may have
difficulty dealing with a chaotic situation due to health issues or
physical impairments. The cooperation between interRAI, home care
agencies and civil defence resulted in the safe evacuation or
relocation of hundreds of seniors and others who were vulnerable.
Building on the experience of Christchurch, interRAI and the Canadian
Red Cross over the next three years will refine decision support
systems to identify vulnerable persons in advance of disasters, develop
a complementary system for evaluating persons affected by disasters and
create new protocols for first responders who would deal directly with
individuals with compromised health or wellness issues.
"The Canadian Red Cross responds every four hours to disasters in Canada
ranging from house fires to forest fires and flooding, and every day
hundreds of our volunteers and staff deliver a variety of
community-based health services including transportation, nutrition
programs and supportive housing," says Holloway. "The ability to have
access to a comprehensive assessment of community needs, particularly
in light of our aging population, is absolutely essential to the
ability of authorities, emergency responders and service providers to
deliver help at the most critical times to the most vulnerable."
interRAI is a collaborative network of researchers in over thirty
countries committed to improving care for vulnerable persons. The
interRAI 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. The interRAI Canada team is led by Dr. John Hirdes
at the University of Waterloo.
About the Canadian Red Cross:
The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and
Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of
Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of
the Red Cross and 188 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The Canadian Red Cross mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable
people by mobilizing the power of humanity. In Canada, the Canadian
Red Cross responds every four hours to disasters ranging from house
fires to forest fires and flooding. Each year, Red Cross volunteers
deliver tens of thousands of hours of community-based health services
to those aging or recovering in their own homes from illness or
SOURCE: Canadian Red Cross
For further information:
Canadian Red Cross
519-888-4567 x 36736