AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To evaluate acceptability, efficiency, and quality of a new digital care management system in a residential aged care home (RACH).
BACKGROUND: Improving care quality and efficiency in RACH, while simultaneously upgrading data management, is a priority for communities and governments.
DESIGN: Participatory action research with mixed methods data collection was employed to evaluate a digital care management system implemented at a 169-bed RACH. This paper reports qualitative findings of the 2-year evaluation.
METHODS: Qualitative data were collected using focus groups with residents, visitors, nurses, managers, care workers, and consultants; resident/visitor and staff hallway interviews and responses to open-ended questions in online staff surveys. Data were analysed thematically under the four predetermined study objectives. Reporting adhered to COREQ guidelines.
RESULTS: 325 data captures from 88 participants, over seven data sources were coded. Findings indicate that the system was acceptable to both residents and staff due to perceptions of time-saving and improved quality of care. Increased efficiency was perceived through timeliness as well as reduced time spent retrieving and documenting information. Quality of care was improved through care scheduling individualised to resident needs, with reminders to avoid missed care. Relatives were reassured and activities were scheduled to loved one's preferences. The co-design implementation process was successful through commitment to quality from leadership teams and prioritising the focus on the holistic needs of the residents.
CONCLUSION: A strong emphasis on co-design with care staff in developing and implementing the digital care system contributed to a system that supported nursing and care work, facilitated reporting and documentation, and improved resident care and well-being including identification of missed care.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Nurses, carers, administrators, and advocates can support the co-design creation of information systems that suit the workflow of an organisation and keep the focus on individualised models of care provision.