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Understanding the information dynamics of medication administration in residential aged care facilities (RACFs): a prerequisite for design of effective ICT systems.

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  • 1Centre for Health Systems & Safety Research, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


Medication information is a critical part of the information required to ensure residents' safety in the highly collaborative care context of RACFs. Studies report poor medication information as a barrier to improve medication management in RACFs. Research exploring medication work practices in aged care settings remains limited. This study aimed to identify contextual and work practice factors contributing to breakdowns in medication information exchange in RACFs in relation to the medication administration process. We employed non-participant observations and semi-structured interviews to explore information practices in three Australian RACFs. Findings identified inefficiencies due to lack of information timeliness, manual stock management, multiple data transcriptions, inadequate design of essential documents such as administration sheets and a reliance on manual auditing procedures. Technological solutions such as electronic medication administration records offer opportunities to overcome some of the identified problems. However these interventions need to be designed to align with the collaborative team based processes they intend to support.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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