Factors affecting Australian aged care facility workers in administering oral medication to residents with swallowing difficulties

Aida Sefidani Forough, Esther T.L. Lau, Kathryn J. Steadman, Greg J. Kyle, Julie A.Y. Cichero, Jose Manuel Serrano Santos, Lisa M. Nissen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Swallowing difficulties are common in older people and can complicate the administration of oral medications. The aim of this study was to explore factors affecting healthcare workers in their practices of oral medication administration to aged care residents with swallowing difficulties. A purposeful sample of 17 healthcare workers composed of clinical/care managers, registered nurses (RNs), enrolled nurses (ENs), and assistants in nursing (AINs) from three aged care facilities in Queensland, Australia participated in semi-structured interviews. Leximancer was used for quantitative content analysis. The responses centered on three main factors. Participants discussed workprocess-related factors including time, workload, and stress and frustrations resulting from work processes. Medication-related factors included strategies to facilitate medication administration, uncertainties around modifying medications, availability/cost of alternatives, multidisciplinary medication management, prescribing considerations, and polypharmacy. Resident-related factors were discussed around individualized needs of residents especially those with dementia-associated swallowing difficulties. Ideas differed among the four groups of participants. Managers discussed workprocess-related factors pertaining to staff and facility. RNs focused on how clinical aspects of the medication practices were affected by work processes. ENs were task-oriented and their responses focused on work processes. AIN responses centered on reliance on RNs in performing medication tasks. The findings suggest that healthcare workers' practices of medication administration to residents with swallowing difficulties are affected by various factors associated with work processes, medications, and resident characteristics. Although these factors affect all levels of healthcare workers, the needs of each group vary depending on their level of training and responsibilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-430
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


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