Single Assessment Tool

Assessment and Care of Older People using the Single Assessment Tool (SAT)

What is the Single Assessment Tool (SAT) project?

The Single Assessment Tool is a comprehensive IT based standardised assessment used to assess the health and social care needs of people (primarily those over the age of 65 years) who may be looking for support under one the following two schemes:

The SAT uses the interRAI assessment system which stands for 'international Resident Assessment Instrument'. interRAI is a not-for-profit organisation consisting of a collaborative network of clinicians and researchers in over 30 countries, including Canada, USA, Australia, Belgium, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany  and New Zealand. For more information see 

The interRAI Home Care assessments which are being implemented in Ireland are designed for use with adults in the home, in acute care, and other community-based settings. These assessments are specifically developed for use with frail older people or persons with disabilities, who are seeking or receiving formal health care and supportive services, to identify their health and social care needs using a standardised assessment. The interRAI SAT Assessment System has been designed to be a user-friendly, reliable, person-centred assessment system that informs and guides comprehensive care and service planning.

Why is the Single Assessment Tool (SAT) being introduced?

SAT is being introduced by the HSE in the first instance to ensure that every person being assessed for NHSS support services, and all older people applying for the HCP scheme, participate in a standard and thorough assessment, regardless of where they live or who is doing the assessment.This assessment will also be used for ongoing care planning.

All the necessary information is gathered so that care and support can be provided in the most appropriate setting to the person’s needs i.e. with extra support at home or in a residential setting (e.g. Nursing Home). 

Using the SAT, the information is collected in the same way for everyone, ensuring fairness and equity. As it is IT based it will also reduce assessment duplication and help facilitate access to and exchange of information with the consent of the person between the appropriate health care professionals involved in the person’s care.

What will the Single Assessment Tool (SAT) change?

The SAT will replace the current Common Summary Assessment Report (CSAR) paper-based assessment being used.

The use of the interRAI SAT assessment will ensure that people receive a comprehensive standard assessment when applying for support, regardless of where they live or who is doing the assessment. Information will be recorded electronically and will be securely stored which allows ease of access to information and reduces duplication of assessments.  

These details will ensure that the relevant healthcare professionals have access to all the necessary information to put a plan in place with the older person and in consultation with their family representative, so that they can enjoy optimum physical and mental health wellbeing to participate in economic, social, cultural, community and family life for as long as possible.

Trained SAT assessor Ciara Blair, Senior Occupational Therapist in Tallaght Hospital – SAT Pilot Site:

"The Single Assessment Tool is new to Ireland but has been used internationally for over 20 years. The SAT is a much more detailed and comprehensive assessment tool than the paper based CSAR.  It captures information, not just about medical diagnosis, medication or a broad overview of patients care requirements, but specifics about personal daily living activities e.g. bathing, dressing, toileting, functional transfers, eating etc. as well as medication management, transportation, pressure ulcer risks and managing household related tasks.  It also acknowledges the importance of a patient’s mental health and mood.

The SAT system automatically generates clinical alerts that trigger the assessor to ensure further in-depth assessments may need to be done e.g. on cognition and provides guidance to the assessor on evidence-based care planning. The assessment covers in greater detail information about the patient’s abilities and capabilities as well as things they need assistance with.

It also gives the person being assessed a ‘voice’ and recognition as a vital person in the process of organising their long term care by seeking their opinion about how they are coping, managing and feeling.   This fits in well with our approach in Tallaght hospital of ‘people caring for people’ so we are delighted to be one of the first places to use the SAT system.

We have been using the SAT system for a number of months and, as with anything new, it has taken staff some time to get used to the SAT assessor approaching them for information with a computer tablet in their hand instead of a paper based assessment.  Ward staff have said they prefer the SAT system as they are consulted in completing the person’s assessment and it has taken extra paperwork tasks away from them, such as the CSAR.  It does take a little longer for the SAT assessor to complete the assessment than the CSAR would have taken.  However, the benefits of such a comprehensive assessment for the older person is a far greater advantage to them and our organisation in the longer term."

What are the benefits of SAT?

SAT Information System

How is the Single Assessment Tool (SAT) being introduced?

For more information contact:

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