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Health tool aims to improve community care access for older people in Northern Ireland

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A health tool has been launched in a bid to make it easier for older people in Northern Ireland to access community care

The Northern Ireland Single Assessment Tool (NISAT) will gather information based on the needs and abilities of older people rather than their disabilities. Health minister Michael McGimpsey said the assessment tool will standardise and streamline the community care planning process, making life easier for the elderly.

Mr McGimpsey said: 'NISAT will give older people a real opportunity to have their voices heard and to be at the very heart of the assessment process.

'It will reduce the stress experienced by many older people who are frustrated when faced by a stream of well-meaning professionals all wanting to ask them the same questions.'

NISAT, which was commissioned by the Department of Health from the University of Ulster, is expected be rolled out across the health and social care trusts by June 2010.

The minister said: 'It is the first time that older people across the country will be assessed using the same tool so that we can ensure that, whether they live in rural Fermanagh or urban Belfast they can expect to be assessed in exactly the same way.'

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